Episode 1 of the Loud Ideas podcast
The Loud Ideas podcast is where all ideas are allowed, so we make them loud. In this episode, we hear Tess Coughlan-Allen talking to Joyann Boyce (aka Joy), a social media consultant and founder of The Social Detail.
Joy works with SMEs, with a focus on technology companies to maximise their impact through social media. The Social Detail has worked with a range of organisations such as Bristol City Council, Black Girl Convention, SETsquared and Future Space; and is an avid advocate for diversity and inclusion partnering on projects with TechSPARK such as SHIFT to create diverse stock photography.
Tess: The Loud Ideas podcast by Mind Doodle aims to provoke new ideas and fresh thinking for our audience. All ideas are allowed, so we make them loud. My name’s Tess and this week, I’m interviewing Joyann Boyce about inclusive marketing
Tess: Welcome to the Loud Ideas podcast by Mind Doodle. Today I’m joined by Joyann Boyce, the founder of The Social Detail and a good friend of mine, but Joy I would love it if you could introduce yourself to our listeners yourself, both personally and professionally.
Joy: Oh personally, that’s a whole new level! So yeah hi, I’m Joyann Boyce, aka Joy and I’m the founder of Social Detail which is a social media marketing agency. We’re also champions in inclusive marketing which we’re going to talk about later. I’m also the co-founder of the BAME Collective, which is a social group for BAME people within Bristol. Now the personal side, hmm. I have no hobbies at the moment but I’m trying to find some.
Tess: Well to be fair, you’ve kept yourself so busy over the last few years because we met about two or three years ago.
Joy: It’s been that long!
Tess: Yeah, I know.
Joy: Oh wow. Yeah it’s been a minute and we met just looking for stuff to learn.
Tess: Yeah! So I think it was the women in tech community in Bristol, but we’ve done a whole bunch of stuff together like co-organise the Bristol WordPress People Meetup.
Joy: Yeah we did that for about a year together.
Tess: That was good!
Joy: Yeah that was really good, some really good memories. Some good logo choices as always.
Tess: Some really good rebranding.
Joy: Yeah it’s been an interesting two years because it’s also, I think, the two years that I’ve been running the business as well. Everything has happened within that time, everything has flourished. I kind of decided to start 101 projects all at the same time, but it’s been fun.
Tess: And now even you’ve built a team, you’ve built a client base, you’ve moved a couple of offices.
Joy: Yeah, currently moving offices again. But I started out just myself, I actually started through the Prince’s Trust. I went through their Enterprise Programme, then I went through the NatWest Programme. I was a bit of a programme junkie for a little bit.
Tess: Hey, it’s good because you get to learn, you get to teach others because I think you were teaching others as well?
Joy: Yes, I was teaching others in terms of social management doing a lot of skills swapping. Also, that’s where I found one of my very first team members, through the NatWest Programme. They were someone else’s intern and I was like, you know what, they don’t appreciate you and I will.
Tess: I will help you grow.
Joy: Yeah, so since then it’s now a team of four of us at the moment so I’m always taking on new interns, I have this kind of rule… I’m self taught, I’d rather take on someone with no experience with passion and initiative than someone with a marketing degree.
Tess: Ah, I love that.
Joy: Because I don’t have one, so I want that kind of ,”Okay, you don’t know the answer, I don’t know the answer. Let’s figure it out,” and in the world of social you need to have that initiative because things are changing. Instagram was down a couple of hours ago.
Tess: I know! Twitter went mad with Instagram down.
Joy: Yep and then WhatsApp started acting up and I was like, “Yes, this is what happens when someone has the monopoly on a lot of platforms,” but anywho, social media politics.
Tess: So you mentioned inclusive marketing in your intro, and that’s probably the main topic we’re going to talk about today. For listeners that might not know about inclusive marketing can you just introduce the topic.
Joy: It’s really interesting actually. It’s something that I did kind of naturally, but I didn’t realise it was rare until I was having a conversation with someone. So I am part of a team, one of my clients is Black Girl Convention.
Tess: Oh yeah.
Joy: And for that convention we are very proactive in making sure we hear stories from everyone’s background. So the founder of the organisation was always making sure she heard a story from someone championing their skills, whether they were from an older generation or they were from a disabled background or whatever it was, she was trying to be as intersectional as possible. That kind of informed my marketing, because if I’m going to speak about someone I am going to make sure I’m going to represent, so we had a speaker who is the only disabled horse rider in the UK and also a black woman.
Joy: So the levels of intersection in terms of oppressed group, skill set, experience was just so vast. And then post that, whenever I would speak about how I approached the marketing with that people were just like, “Oh!”, they didn’t quite get it.
Tess: So basically you’d speak about how you run your business, and people were surprised because they realised that they didn’t do it in the right way.
Joy: Yeah and it’s always interesting because, I guess, me coming from an oppressed group, me being a woman and me being a black woman, it was things that I would think of naturally. It would be like okay if I’m going to include, if I’m going to talk about the founders or the top 100 founders in my Twitter stream I want to find female and male. I would naturally do that. If I’m going to do this I’m going to find this and this and this.It wasn’t so much for me in terms of I’m doing it because I think I should, and that’s what the world is doing, I was doing it because I’m interested.
That was where the conversation around inclusive marketing came about because a lot of people were championing in different areas in Bristol. The listeners may not know but Bristol tends to be a very diverse city and there are all these stats about 19 languages being spoken and all these percentages being chucked around, but over the last two or three years, a lot of people have been campaigning for representation. For me that’s in two parts, it’s representation internally, in companies and in workplaces, but on the flip side, if that company isn’t marketing that, if they’re not showing that their inclusive or representative then nobody’s going to approach them.
So that’s how I started to look at it. Okay, at the end of the day, the numbers may not say that every single company is going to have someone representative from every oppressed group, but having an awareness of it, having the knowledge that you can still reach your target audience but your target audience has layers. That’s what I went through when I did my Social Media Week talk, it was very much, “This is your target persona.” We used the example Gillette, so I was like, “Close your eyes,” you can do it with me now listeners, “Close your eyes and imagine the idea Gillette man,” and quite frankly everyones going to imagine a white man whose in a suit, living a busy life, and straight.
That’s just what we’ve been fed over the years and years. However, Gillette, with their most recent campaign which has come out this year, 2019, they flipped that. They did a story about learning to shave for the first time from the viewpoint of a transgender man, being taught by his dad. So you’ve got trans, you’ve got generational and it was a black man as well. So that was intersectional where they were still targeting your audiences, because everyone who shaves has learnt to shave for the first time.
Tess: Well that’s an interesting subtopic as well, because when people think of inclusive marketing or design or UX, and accessibility, sometimes in businesses they sort of think, “Oh we’re doing this because it’s right,” but you’re also showing that you’re doing it because it’s the right business choice as well as the right thing to do.
Joy: Yeah and that’s the bit that I think is the next stage. The word diversity gets chucked around a lot, and it gets chucked around sometimes in this tokenistic or this, “Oh this poor group we need to help, we need to donate to this charity,” but at the same time if businesses can see in this win-win situation, especially in our generation, we’re looking at companies and we’re saying, “Oh, okay ,you use plastic? Yeah, we’re not coming.’
Tess: Yeah and it’s easier now to group together and say, “Okay, we don’t put up with this.” Maybe I say it’s easier, maybe it’s just because I’m noticing it. It can happen.
Joy: It can definitely happen because of social media, because we can share the message. You might not know anyone around you who champions for disabled people but you can go on Twitter and find them like that and then share the message that the company has been discriminatory. So it’s hitting companies in two aspects. Yes they can make money if they do it genuinely and they do their research and they do authentically approach the different groups. However, they can also save themselves a lot of bad PR.
Tess: Yeah so it’s makes money or potentially lose money. That’s a really interesting way to put it. Also, on a similar topic, you were involved in a really interesting campaign or a project called Shift. And I think that was you working with TechSPARK and I’m not sure if there were other partners involved.
In the very first meeting I mentioned when building my website I couldn’t find any stock photos of, just, hands on keyboards. Because I had to use stock photos when I first started, the same as any new business, you don’t have money for a photographer.
Tess: Yeah you use stock photos.
Joy: You use stock photos and you use free stock photos. But I still wanted it to look like it was mine. So I would go onto all stock photo websites just looking for a pair of hands, female black hands on a keyboard and I just couldn’t find it. In mentioning that, there was, kind of, the initiative of, “Hey, let’s do our version of that. Let’s create stock images for people to use,” so TechSPARK and I got together and collected in terms of the other people that were in the SETSquared and TechSPARK community and made sure that it was women and people who were represented in non-binary to put together the photoshoot, which landed on the BBC as well.
Tess: Yeah and you were the face of this as well! You were in the press, you were on the front page of the newspaper, you were in the BBC. So how did that feel actually, being sort of propelled into the limelight because not only were you a big part of the project but ended up being the face of the campaign in terms of the photo.
Joy: It was the first time, so it’s kind of come full circle now in that I understand the how and why things work. It was very much okay yay I’ll do this, I’ll do this, I’ll do this, but at the same time it was good business sense and when I first started out I was just like oh it’s fine I’ll just go on the BBC without realising how much that meant, how much power the BBC has, which might be a generational thing I guess since I get all my news from Twitter. So I was like, “Okay, yes do people still watch?”
Tess: And they do.
Joy: Yeah they definitely do! A couple of people hit me up on email after that and I was like, “Oh wow.”
Tess: So people emailing you like clients or just other people you knew in the industry?
Joy: So it was a mixture. It was a mixture of people who had seen it and wanted to work with me. I think going back to the idea of tokenism, I had the experience where a charity reached out to me because they wanted me to attend an event which was about a law firm helping people in Africa and I had to go back to them and ask, “Did you watch the piece, or…?” I had to approach it where I had to say, “I understand why you reached out to me because you saw a black woman on TV but I do tech and marketing.”
Tess: Yeah so that’s funny, so you do tech and marketing but you’re also having to educate people a lot of the time and that’s a burden that you shouldn’t have to have.
Joy: It’s a tricky one. I do choose my days especially with a lot of the, you know, how busy the networking scene in Bristol can be. Sometimes I’m like, “Okay, that’s how you choose to do things I’m happy for you to go ahead.”
Tess: And you can take a step back and it’s no weight off your shoulders.
Joy: Or I can also say, “Pay me,” which tends to make people very very quiet.
Tess: Yeah so if you want to have my insight or whatever, you can pay for my time.
Joy: Mhm and people get really quiet! It’s surprising when you apply business to it because I think people always think, “Oh it has to be for the good of the world,” and I’m like no you need my time, I am a business owner.
Tess: Your time is expensive as a business owner as well.
Joy: Yeah and eventually if I am going to help you make money, why not? But hey, we’re getting there. There are movements being made.
Tess: Absolutely. You mentioned as well that you sort of bring in inclusive marketing into your day to day in the agency that you run, but can you tell us a bit more about what you might do practically in a campaign, or your processes and how inclusive marketing, I know it’s sort of naturally, but for people who might not understand, how are you bringing it in practically.
Joy: So there’s different levels with it. There’s things that you can actively do in terms of outreach. So on Twitter is an easy example, reaching out to oppressed groups that we are not experts in. We go out, we share their results, we use our platform to help. In terms of direct physical accessibility, on all the platforms you can put alternative text, which helps people with screen readers. In terms of representation we like to highlight anyone, and also encourage our clients within the community, to highlight people with diverse backgrounds.
So it’s not just that you’re talking about your company or yourself, which is the core of social media marketing anyway, you need to talk about the community that you’re engaging with. So those are the kind of aspect that we do, when I start out with clients I try to create Twitter lists of people who are championing for inclusion within their sectors, then start engaging with those people. And it’s also a learning part on both ends, in terms of if there’s an opportunity within the company or the organisation, I will reach out to those communities first if I hear about it, to pass it on to them versus just generally putting it out in a generic tweet.
Tess: That’s really interesting. So yeah, when you said levels earlier, I didn’t realise quite how many level there were.
Joy: Yeah you have to visualise, you have the physical accessibility and then you have the, not influencers, I guess role models more so.
Tess: So what else can you tell us about learning on the job? You said that you’re self-taught and that’s both for social media and for running your own business so I’m sure you have lots of insights that you could share.
Joy: Yeah, so many! I think the number one rule, that I’m reminding myself constantly is that everyone is making it up. Everyone is making it up along the way because things are changing so quickly, especially with the whole internet aspect a lot of the old business methods aren’t necessarily applicable. So in terms of learning social, I was a mini influencer way back when.
Tess: On what platform?
Tess: I knew you were going to say Twitter! Because way back when, that was the thing.
Joy: Yeah then I had a mini freak out and I went travelling and I was like, “I do not need to be connected to the internet.” So then I went through all the possible courses, I reached out to people. One thing I always recommend when people approach you and say, “How did you do this?”, I went ham on LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is a really underrated network because people always look at it in terms of, “Oh, I’m trying to get a job,” but in terms of information and people wanting to help, I remember the first couple of months of me trying to work out what social media managers actually do. You’re kind of making it up and putting out fires on social, but all the blogs make it sound really fun and cool and I was thinking this is not my day to day, so what is day to day for people? So I reached out to about 50 social media managers.
Tess: And you messaged them not saying I want to say, “I want to get into your company,” you were reaching out for support?
Joy: I was literally like, “Hey, what do you do day to day? I’m trying to get into this.” And I would say, out of the 50 I had five people who sent me really valuable messages. One person got on the phone with me, and she answered one of my biggest questions, because at the time I was really paranoid about being sued because I didn’t know anything about business, I just though if you mess up, the company is going to sue you. She just said that there’s insurance for that and I was like, “I can get insurance for a Tweet?!” On the phone I could hear her face kind of get confused. The Prince’s Trust is great but a lot of the mentors there are of a certain generation.
Tess: And they’re not going to know the agency that you run or the business that you start. Otherwise, if they knew it so well, there probably wouldn’t be space for you to start, right?
Joy: This is true. That was an amazing phone call. She was like, “Okay cool, I’m just going to break down everything, accountants, get insurance, do this, do that,” and I was like, “Oh, it’s that simple!” It really made me chuckle, and someone else replied to me on LinkedIn as well, where he outlined his whole day.
Tess: I really love this story, I don’t think we’ve ever spoken about this. Sometimes when you put out what you need to the universe, even if you do it directly, it’s really nice to know that some people will come back and bring you real value out of the goodness of their hearts. And have you stayed in touch with any of them?
Joy: No, one of them has no become a competitor. I haven’t ever met her, she’s based in Bristol so I’ve met some of her employees and team, and she’s bigger than me but I’m like, “Oh, I’m coming for you now.” But no, they kind of helped, the conversation went back and forth and one person did message me about a year later and said they had been following my journey ,which was just like “What? What journey?” but that was really nice. Outside of that it’s been radio silence.
It’s interesting that you mention putting things out into the universe because I have a really bad habit of saying things and forgetting. I meet with my mentors monthly, and I will say things to them because I’m supposed to say a goal, forget it, and then the next time I meet with them I’ve actually achieved it. So it’s really interesting, and looking at this situation, one of the goals was to have more speaking opportunities.
Tess: Yay, brilliant. That’s actually one of my goals as well. It’s a scary goal, but hopefully will get easier with time, just like anything, including your day to day work, you know, it’s always going to be harder at the start.
Joy: And it’s nothing like having, like I think you’ve recently had assistants and stuff, when you have people come in and you realise, “Oh you do that in two hours, not five minutes, okay.”
Tess: Oh gosh, yeah, like when you first start having people on your team, you think, “I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life because this is going to take so long. This is the opposite of what I thought was going to happen,” but then there’s this magical moment which seems to come out of the blue where they produce really amazing work and you think, “They’ve done it! They can do it!” and it’s just giving people a little bit of time to grow and then, we said this earlier, with other stuff, but it’s the same for everything, but time to grow and a little bit of faith as well.
Joy: Definitely on the faith path. One of my team members, Liz, it was actually a scary moment, we had a new intern come in and I was busy doing something that was either client-based or whatever and I couldn’t respond. I just heard Liz say the thought I was thinking in response to the intern and I just thought, “Oh, she’s absorbed it, it’s good, it’s working.” Then she also had the confidence to go through the work and approve things, things I was doing with her a good few months ago has built up and she feels like she’s good enough to do it. That to me, outside of any certificate or award, was the best feeling ever.
Tess: Yeah because you’re not only giving them responsibility, but you’re taking a weight off your own shoulders and you can get more and more confident in your own agency, and the kind of goal for most founders or people who lead teams is to make themselves as redundant as they can be.
Joy: Yeah I say that to my clients, I say that to everyone, I like to work in a replaceable manner. If I was to, touch wood, step off a bridge tomorrow or go somewhere, you can carry on. Especially sometimes clients are like, “What do you mean?” because they’re so used to agencies holding everything behind closed doors because they want you to keep coming to them, but you’re coming to me for my expertise and because you don’t want to do it and you can’t do it.
Tess: That’s so interesting. So you’re being transparent, beyond transparent, saying this is how it works. You don’t want to do it, we’ll do it, but you’re not trying to put wool in front of someone’s eyes. That’s a really different approach, again, we’re talking about traditional compared to now, but a really different approach compared to what you think of when you think of agencies. The way they present a project, they’re always trying to mystify you, and you’re trying to demystify it essentially.
Joy: And this is one of the joys of my world, because things move so fast it doesn’t affect me if I share information or educate people or educate clients because it’s not their world. At the end of the day I’m the one that’s living in it so they’re going to come back in one way or another. If that’s that, they pass it on, and then it can help someone, I don’t know who that could be. That was one of the biggest lessons in the NatWest Programme. It was don’t pitch to the people in the room, pitch through them. So I could answer questions and help people out and help educate them and they can pass that, I call it social currency online, but human currency, which sounds wrong.
Tess: But, yeah the value.
Joy: Yeah the value, that’s it. They pass it on and keep it going.
Tess: And so when you talk about clients, do you have any insights on getting clients or keeping clients or anything like that that you’re willing to share?
Joy: It is a mission. When I started out, very much like any freelance or agency or anything like that starting out, one person band, I went in thinking any work that comes along I’m going to grab it. I’m going to do it no matter the price and one thing I will say that I’ve learnt is that when you’re meeting a client or you’re meeting someone, it’s a two way interview. It’s definitely, “Are you a fit and am I a fit?”
I’d say because taking on someone in a rush, or taking on a client and things aren’t clear and you haven’t been through that courting or dating process it can make things difficult and breakups messy, so my advice on that one would be to take the time to get to know them, and figure out what their wants are and their why. If you can work out why they’re doing whatever they’re doing then you can make an informed decision in whatever your service is for them and make it fit with their “why” and their overall passion.
Outside of that I would say make sure you have your T&Cs, but have something basic to begin with, because you have the flip side of some people read everything, and some people read nothing, and if someone reads everything it’s great and they’ll pull you up on things that they want to change and so forth. The ones that read nothing and sign very long contracts tend to be problematic because as a client they will start asking for things and you’ll have to refer back to the contract and it becomes a bit parent-style.
You’re like, “But in your thing it says this, or in your thing it says that,” or you start getting agitated with yourself or start agitating your team because you start going out of your scope because you don’t want to upset the client. So it’s managing expectations and managing understanding. I’m still working on that, that’s definitely an area where I learn something new, every single new client.
Tess: Yeah I can imagine. So finally, you talked earlier about how you’re expanding your portfolio of talks and you’ve given some talks, how can people find those? We can link them in the podcast but how can they find you online.
Joy: So you can find me and the agency online @thesocialdetail on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. In terms of the talks, none of them have been recorded as of yet, so when our new website is live at the end of July, putting it into the universe, I’ll have all the articles and everything linked because a lot of people find it helpful. It’s really weird, I know you’ve live tweeted with me before but being on the other side, when people are quoting you, it’s such a strange feeling.
Tess: You look back on it and go, “Oh is that what I said? That sounds really good.”
Joy: Yeah, yeah like, “Oh that was really quotable, sounds amazing.” So it’s been really interesting doing that. I am going to be doing more around the inclusive marketing talks. I also want to do things around social media and accessibility for disabled people which is a project I’m working on, because a lot of people aren’t aware of the whole screen readers and a lot of people are using captions on their videos solely for the reason that people don’t turn their sound on, and it’s like, “No, there are people with hearing difficulties who use social as well.”
So just a little thing about that, and I want to incorporate that with a charity, but these are all things that but these are all things that I’m putting into the universe hoping to do but I really am enjoying the journey.
Tess: It’s really fun again, to watch you on the journey, and I love seeing how things change, all the new projects that you take on and these ones especially sound really exciting.
Joy: I’m currently working on one about open source design at the moment, hence why I was so interesting at the last event that I saw you at, talking about open source with…
Tess: Francesca from SiteGround was giving a talk on open source at the Bristol WordPress People Meetup in July.
Joy: Yes, that was really, really interesting. Especially to hear how WordPress has grown so quickly and the struggles it went through initially to being known. Like, if a websites not made on WordPress, what’s it made on?
Tess: It’s also interesting to find out that WordPress isn’t the biggest open source community, because when you’re involved you think it is, but obviously that’s not the case. There’s a whole other set of worlds out there.
Joy: I actually asked her what the strangest thing she’s ever seen open sourced and she said someone’s open sourced a recipe to a drink and I’m like, “How?” Does everyone add in a flavour and then the results?
Tess: Oh, yeah.
Joy: I need to find out how that happened. But yeah, it’s really interesting, that whole community aspect is definitely one of the core values.
Tess: The intention of the Loud Ideas podcast is to provoke new thoughts and fresh thinking for our listeners and I have no doubt that is exactly what Joy has done. Thank you to Joy for sharing her insights so freely, and thank you for listening. You can like, subscribe and listen again next week. This is the Loud Ideas podcast by Mind Doodle.
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