420 Lara Eastburn
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Learn what Facebook audiences are and why you must use them before boosting posts or creating ads. Find out how Lara Eastburn gains new customers from her social media Facebook page.

Lara Eastburn started her first business when she was 12 and has been a champion for smaller business ever since. After selling her 13-year global business manufacturing & retailing hula hoops for grownups in 2014, she became the self-professed “social media mixologist” – distilling an ocean of social media information into perfect gulps of fun for small business. Lara brings a doctorate in French and linguistics (yeah, she’s a word geek) and a whole lot of sass to her work teaching small business owners how to “Speak Human, Win The Internet.” Every day.

Note: I produce The Brand Journalism Advantage as an audio podcast which means, you’ll get the most out of it by listening to it. However, the transcript is here to help you follow along or find a particular point in the episode. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting us in print or any other medium. The transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, so there may be some errors. I encourage you to listen to the audio.

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Phoebe: Hello, brand journalism community. I'm Phoebe Chongchua. Thanks for tuning into the Brand Journalism Advantage podcast. Here we go with the inside scoop. On today's show, Lara Eastburn. Now, Lara calls herself a social media mixologist, and we're going to learn exactly what that is and what she does in a very engaging episode that's coming up.

But Lara first started her business when she was about 12 years old, and she's been a champion for small businesses ever since. I should say that was her first business, of course. After selling her 13-year global business manufacturing and retailing hula hoops for grown-ups, in 2013 she became the self-professed social media mixologist, distilling an ocean of social media information into perfect gulps of fun for small businesses. That is so cool. I have never heard that term before, and Lara, welcome to the show. I love it. Social media mixologist.

Lara Eastburn: Thank you. Yeah, it rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?

Phoebe: It totally does. And you know what, I was doing a show because I'm a video journalist. I was filming in New York City, and we were looking for a mixologist. Not a social media mixologist. The other kind, because it's 5:00 somewhere, right? I love it because it totally brings it together. You bring the information, and you sip it in or gulp it in, and you help small businesses understand what's up in that world, right?

Lara Eastburn: Yes, and in English.

Phoebe: Even, even better. Well, today, brand journalism community, we're talking about the five most engaged Facebook audience. All right, right here it's like, "What? What is that?" Facebook audiences. We're going to dive into that and learn. We're not just talking about audiences in the sense of the users, right, Lara?

Lara Eastburn: No, no, no. You can ship your avatars to wherever they go to die.

Phoebe: Real quick, let's unpack it. What do you mean by Facebook audiences?

Lara Eastburn: These are digital audiences. They are made up of anyone who has interacted with you in any way online.

Phoebe: Yeah, so it's pretty cool because there are all kinds of things you can do, like the pixels for the people who've come to your website, and then kind of tracking them on Facebook, right?

Lara Eastburn: Right, that's the one that people are most familiar with.

Phoebe: Yes, all right. Brand journalism community. If you are not familiar with all of this, not to worry. Lara's going to unpack it in our top tips section. It's the five most engaged Facebook audiences, why you need to know this, and why it's so important. Because obviously Facebook continually makes changes like we're seeing at the time of this taping of this episode. They've come out, and Zuckerberg has said, "Look, I want more meaningful conversations. I want more meaningful engagement going on." That had a lot of brands concerned.

Not to worry. We're going to help you through this. Facebook is still going to be important to your brand, and we're going to dive into that a little bit more. But you know I always kick off the show with an icebreaker, and I love this when you give credit back. She writes, "My grandfather, a salesman, and preacher, taught me everything I use today in marketing." Wow. What kind of salesman was he?

Lara Eastburn: Oh, what kind wasn't he? Let's see; I think he started out with Sears and washers and dryers.

Phoebe: Wow, uh-huh (affirmative).

Lara Eastburn: But then later, he had his own business as an independent insurance salesman.

Phoebe: Very cool. Must have been a good man.

Lara Eastburn: He was the best. He told me that he didn't see the difference between selling anything and preaching because when he was preaching, he was selling hope.

Phoebe: Yeah. Yeah, really good point. Well, I've got this excerpt, and we've been dancing around it a little bit, and I just mentioned how Mark Zuckerberg is making changes. If you follow him on Facebook, then you can read in his rather lengthy post what he's intending to do, and kind of demonstrating it himself. I think you'd agree, Lara, that in that post, he says, "I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions."

That's kind of why we chose to do this episode right now, but we also wanted to dive deeper into something that I know we haven't covered that much on The Brand Journalism Advantage, which is the audiences. But it's really important. What's your take on what's happening with the algorithms and what Mark is trying to do at Facebook?

Lara Eastburn: Well, the first thing and most important thing I have to say about that is, seriously, everybody, chill out.

Phoebe: Right.

Lara Eastburn: This happens about every two years on lockdown, I mean, on repeat. It's always the freaking apocalypse. I like to say, if you are depending on organic reach, which is all these changes are about, organic reach just means your post from your Facebook page going out to people for free. If you depend on that and that's all you depend on, the social media sky is going to always be falling.

Phoebe: Agreed.

Lara Eastburn: The reason that these changes are being made is simply because of bad marketers. Right? There are marketers who really try to get around the rules, find other ways in. Try to get their stuff out for free, and Facebook continuously has to react to that. Because it is highly invested in our user experience. If we don't enjoy going on Facebook, guess what happens to Facebook? They're not there. They don't get to sell ads. Right? If nobody's going on there, they don't get to sell ads. So they need to make their users happy, and when advertisers that do things in the way that they don't want them to, then they have to get them out of there. That's why they're constantly shifting. It makes things more difficult, maybe, for us, but really, it forces us, good guys, to get more creative, to push ourselves every time we're thrown a new ball. To me, I get excited about changes.

Phoebe: Yeah, I agree with you. I don't see this as the end of the world like a lot of people are acting like it's going to really damage their brand. It really just means you got to be more creative. You have to pay for play. We all know that. It's been that way for quite some time. Brand journalism community, we'll go deeper into it, and we'll talk about some of those ways that you're able to do that in the top tips section when we get to Facebook audiences. But share with us a quote, or maybe it's a tip, maybe it's a Facebook tip, whatever you'd like that you'd like the brand journalism community to take with them.

Lara Eastburn: Oh, I got to give you my tagline because I'm so proud of it. It's, "Speak human, win the internet." It is my guiding light in everything. It's really a conglomerate of all the people I like. Ted Rubin and Dr. Seuss, you know? And my grandfather, really. Even though this is a digital space, there's really nothing different about marketing here than there is in real life. It's elbow rubbing and shaking hands, and we just do that in a different medium.

Phoebe: Love it, love it. Take us back in time. Interesting career, retailing hula hoops for grown-ups and starting your first business at 12. Fill in a little bit of the blanks, and then take us to that story; that moment in time that you're most proud of.

Lara Eastburn: Right. I was running Superhooper, one of the first companies that made hula hoops for grown-ups, which sounds crazy, but if you try to hoop with those kid ones, that's like trying to put on a five-year-old swimsuit. It doesn't work. Hula hoops for grown-ups have to be made larger and heavier, and they're all hand-crafted. Today, there are a lot of these businesses. At the time, there were just a few of us. Once I had no competition. Then they started cropping up, new businesses, and I was like, "Okay. This is getting kind of crowded in here. Maybe I need to do something new. I'm going to get on social media."

I got on really relatively late, maybe 2005? And started building a page, and this is back when you got organic reach. I couldn't figure out really what it was about; what made people want to read those posts. Because I did what most people do; I put on what I call the virtual business suit, and I was like, "I am a professional." It's not about that on Facebook. Maybe on LinkedIn. Not on Facebook. It's a party. Nobody goes there to shop. They go there for community, that kind of thing. So what happened was we had regular, really long phone hours so people could call in and figure out which size of hula hoop to get, because there are sizes and weights. And it's just kind of tricky to figure out.

So one day, my husband was on one of these calls. We live on this little lake. My husband was on one of these calls, looking out at the lake right in front of our fence. Our, you know, wooden, flat fence. My youngest was maybe two, and she was totally naked because that's how she rolls because we live out in the country. And she had crawled up the fence and was standing right next to him while he was on the phone, and I thought that was adorable, so I grabbed a picture. Just snapped a photo with my phone and I put it up on our Superhooper business page and said, "You know we answer calls from blah to blah, but maybe what you didn't know is there's some naked toddler standing right next to us when we do."

The post went nuts, and that is when everything really started to click into place for this business. Where I realized that it wasn't ... People had choices when it came to hula hoops. They just cared about the people that were making them. They wanted to feel something in common with that business and with the people behind it, and that's really where speak human comes from was that for me, that one moment distilled in that image.

Phoebe: How cool is that? Because whenever you post something that is maybe ... Obviously, I see nothing wrong with that. I have a grown daughter now, but toddlers, so adorable, and that's how they roll sometimes. The diapers and things like that are just a nuisance to them. But let's just admit it; that sometimes when you put a picture on ... You don't know how it's going to go. You don't know what kind of reaction you're going to get, and I think some people hold back and they don't take that risk, and others go too far like we've seen in YouTube as of recent at the time of this taping. Right? It's a chance.

Lara Eastburn: Right. But if you're going to take a chance, social media is not a bad place to do it. Let me rephrase that. Your Facebook page is not a bad place to do it. Because the truth is, nobody's really seeing the post on your page, especially these days. It's one to two percent unless you put money behind it. Throw it up there. If it doesn't work, it just goes down. Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, absolutely don't do it. But there's not a big difference between posting on your business page and posting on your personal profile. As far as I see it.

Phoebe: Right. Now, let's talk about that just a minute. You do have greater engagement, wouldn't you agree, organically, if you're posting on your personal profile versus on behalf of a brand?

Lara Eastburn: Of course.
Phoebe: Yeah, because you have that built-in audience. Also, there are things that brands can't do on Facebook as far as interacting like a personal profile can. Right?

Lara Eastburn: Well, no. One of the reasons there aren't more organic posts from your business page in the feed is because they're honestly really boring. There are very few Facebook pages that are good at what they do. That are good at posting. That are good at understanding that they are on a social medium. There are ones that just rocket out of the park. Thug Kitchen comes to mind. That's one of my favorite. And they can get, organically, 250,000 shares on a picture of an avocado because of the way they do it, which I'll just let your listeners go there to see how they do it.

It's amazing. When you're fun when you're not boring and like, "Oh, here's a link to this thing on Business Insider." Who cares? In general, and that's what I mean when I say there's not a lot of difference between those two platforms in deciding what you're going to post is if you're sharing me a link, tell me why I want to read it. Don't share something that you wouldn't comment on or you wouldn't enjoy. People just get scared, and honestly, they're just boring. And Facebook is not going to put boring posts in the feed, whether it comes from a page or from a profile.

Phoebe: Tell me a time when it didn't work. Let's turn the tables. Let's talk about that struggle, and take us to that moment in time and share how you felt and what you did to overcome it.
Lara Eastburn: I'm a southern girl, and so I'm really trusting. When I was starting out, I really didn't take steps to protect myself and my business that I wish I had done. I learned a lot from it, though. So yeah, just ... I mean, everybody sounds like they're going to get along and everybody's going to be great when you're setting that project up, but I wish I had gotten everything in writing. I wish I had really spelled everything out. Which I do today. It helps them understand what they're getting into, and to make sure that everybody's understood one another. But yeah. I regret not being better at that when I started out.

Phoebe: Yeah, that can really be a tricky thing, right? Because somebody thinks it's one thing, and you are like, "Wait a minute. We had an agreement. We talked about this. I'm working on this, and you don't understand," and it's all because of that, right? Not having it down on paper.

Lara Eastburn: Exactly.

Phoebe: I understand that completely. Important lesson. Well, let's talk about the top tips. Let's talk about the five most engaged Facebook audiences. We defined that at the start of the show. Go back and listen if you need to, brand journalism community, but these are really important audiences to pay attention to and to use, and Lara's going to unpack that. Lara, just take us through and then I'll have some questions for you.

Lara Eastburn: The first audience is your website visits. That's probably the one that people are most familiar with. It mainly just happens, you put a tiny little piece of code from Facebook on your website which allows Facebook to then communicate with your website, matching the IP addresses that visit your site to actual Facebook users. And it's very simple. You go back into ads manager, and you tell Facebook, "I want to create an audience of people that have visited my website in the last 180 days." Or 30 days. Anywhere between zero and 180. And it can be anywhere on the site if you're a smaller business, or specific pages if you're a little larger.

The next one would be ... Actually, really relatively new are the page and video engagement audiences. Now, we can create an audience of anyone who's engaged on our Facebook page up to a year. Anytime in the last zero to 365 days. What they mean by engagement, there's ... I mean, they did something. They visited your Facebook page, they clicked on something, they liked something, they commented on it, they watched something, they shared it. All of those things count as engagement. If they engaged with your page at all within the last year, you can create an audience of those people.

And, by the way, they just introduced that for Instagram as well because Instagram is obviously owned by Facebook. So we now have access to that data, too. That's just page engagement. Then we can make another couple of audiences just based on video engagement, and what's really cool about this is you can set the bar wherever you want to. When I'm making ads, what I do best, I'm going to set that bar at about 25%. If I'm doing a 10-minute video, like a Facebook Live, there's so much Facebook Live right now, it's really important, so these audiences are more important than they've ever been. You just set that bar for how much? Did they watch 25% on average of my video? Sweet. I know that they're motivated and interested in what I do. Same goes for Instagram there.

The third or fourth audiences would be your ... is pretty old school, right? Your mailing list. It's insanely hard to get people to give you your email list today. There are lots of reasons for that. But the ones that you have, the ones that you spent so many years and effort and blood and money building, you can now introduce them into a new format that will be actually really useful for you. Because we can't guarantee that they'll open those emails, but you know what? We can upload that mailing list into the back end of Facebook, and it will match those email addresses to Facebook users, usually at about an 80% rate.

Phoebe: Wow, that's excellent.

Lara Eastburn: I know, right? And then for each of these audiences, Facebook has a way to create what they call lookalike audiences. That one is ... It takes everything that it knows, so let's start with your mailing list. You've uploaded your mailing list, and then you tell Facebook to make a lookalike audience from that list. It's going to take everything that it knows about the email list and Facebook's database is the most sophisticated on the planet. It's intense, right? It aggregates all your online activity, your income taxes, your frequent buyer cards at the local grocery store. All of that. It takes all of the data that it knows about those people and extrapolates it into a larger audience so that when you begin to advertise to new people, people who have never heard of you before, you're not starting in the dark. You're starting with some kind of foundations based on hard data.

Phoebe: When you look at these audiences, is there once that you say ... If someone's just getting started with this, which is the one they should pay attention to most and start using and learn first?

Lara Eastburn: I don't think there's one you want to ignore. The website one's important. The reason I like that one is because especially these days, nobody ends up on your website by accident. That's not a thing that happens anymore. I remember in college where you would literally just kind of explore the internet. That's not a thing that happens. For most of us and most of our businesses, we only got there because we are looking for what you do or you've been referred to us. Anybody that makes it to your website today is already ... I already put them in a very motivated category.

Phoebe: Good point. What are the first steps if someone says, "All right, I'm going to get started on this." Maybe they've just been boosting posts. What do they need to do?

Lara Eastburn: Stop boosting posts until you make these audiences. Boost a post used to be terrible. It's a lot better now, but only because we're able to import these audiences into the boost menu now. The first thing to do is to just create these audiences. It's really not that hard. A lot about Facebook advertising is incredibly complex, and there's a steep, steep learning curve, but creating these audiences is pretty straightforward. I've got a free video how-to for each one of them that I'll give you the link for.

Phoebe: Perfect. We'll put that in the show notes, brand journalism community, at ThinkLikeAJournalist.com under Lara's page, so you'll be able to get that right there. All right, so it's not that complicated. Just give us an idea. We know we've got the video there, they'll be able to tune into that, but give us a brief idea about it.

Lara Eastburn: Right. Let's say you want to create that email list, right? You would just download the CSV file and go to your Facebook ads manager. Upload it into your Facebook ads manager and call it "mailing list," put the date on it, and it's done. What's more important about doing these right now is those website audiences. It's for the last 180 days. And Facebook will say, "Yeah, it's retroactive." But it's not really. Right? You want to go ahead and create that audience so it can begin populating because it only has a shelf life of like I said, 180 days, so six months. Six months from now, when you get ready to sell something, you're going to be very glad you have that populated list.

Phoebe: Absolutely. All right, brand journalism community, we'll have more of this along with Lara's promised videos to walk you through it. This is the five audiences: remarketing, page engagement, mailing list, video engagement, and lookalikes. Very important to get familiar with all that. Right now though, Lara, you've been hired to help an ailing company. It's about to financially collapse. This is the scenario. It's reputation shot. You've got a month, $1,000 budget, a smartphone, and a laptop. How do you begin to turn this company around?

Lara Eastburn: I would pinpoint the 10 team members who clearly hear the most about this business in their work. Optimally at different levels. Take them and the head honcho to dinner. I'd keep the wine flowing, and nobody leaves until we understand what's not working and have a plan to fix it. I might even film the whole thing.

Phoebe: What is one piece of technology, video, multimedia equipment, or an app that you just can't live without?

Lara Eastburn: I really like to tell people about the Advanced Marketing Institute's headline analyzer. I can give you the link for that. It's really cool. I think it's run by MIT. I use it for blog titles, email subject lines; really, any copy that you want people to read. You plug in the copy itself or the headline and then choose your industry, and then it gives you a grade, a percentage grade, based on three different things. I think it's emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. So it's kind of telling you where it's registering. What point you're hitting. How it's registering on the other side. It's really fantastic. One word can change anything, and it's a lot of fun.

Phoebe: Excellent. And, brand journalism community, again, another really good tool. That'll be in the show notes on Lara's page, ThinkLikeAJournalist.com. One book, documentary, blog, podcast, or internet channel you want to recommend.

Lara Eastburn: I'm going to go for Jay Acunzo. He has a website called Sorry For Marketing, and he has recently started the Unthinkable podcast. Jay is ... He's a real diamond in the rough. He's one of the most brilliant creative minds I've stumbled upon in marketing, mainly because he's not going to tell you what you should be doing or what's so hot right now. I think of him as the Socrates of content marketing. He guides you to what you already know is right and gives you permission to make it exceptional. There are just so few brilliant minds out there who ignore the trends. Because to me, the trends ... Yeah, I'll register them, but in the end, they go away and what stays is really fantastic content. Every time.

Phoebe: Expert predictions. We are now closing in, getting a lot closer to 2025. It's coming up fast. Give us a look at the world of social media and marketing and maybe even your ideas of where Facebook will be about nine years out or so.

Lara Eastburn: Can Facebook live forever?

Phoebe: Right.

Lara Eastburn: You know, if it keeps pivoting, yeah. Everybody gets mad at the changes, but those changes are the reason it's not the next MySpace. 2025. With native advertising and paid influencers just everywhere, I think it's really more and more difficult to look at something and say, "That's an ad." That's been a necessary or unnecessary response to people becoming jaded about marketing. That feeling that we have that we're always being sold something we don't need. But the danger in being advertised to all the time and not knowing it, I think there's going to have to be a tipping point with that because good advertising is really like dating. Good marketing is not evil. Its sole purpose is to match people with the services and products they are looking for. The ones they do need and want.

Social proof is what we marketers call testimonials and reviews. That social proof will become a major force, I think, in accomplishing that. Just the way Amazon has taught us, right? I don't download a $6 Kindle book without reading 25 reviews. But I would predict that businesses will see that they need to partner with their customers to help make that happen.
Phoebe: I love that point. Now, just as we close out, for a competitive advantage, what exactly do you mean by partnering? How are they going to do that? What's one way to do that?

Lara Eastburn: As an example, I would say I think of my own feedback form. A lot of businesses just sit around waiting for people to put reviews up on their pages or their Yelps or their Google. But really, I find that it's one thing to actively seek those reviews, but another thing to frame it. For example, one of the things that I do is when I send out that request for feedback, like, "Hi, we just finished this year-long Facebook ad campaign." I give a little review; this is what we did. This is what we accomplished. And then I make sure that they understand that I'm not asking for a review to pump up my business. I'm asking for a review so that other businesses know who they can trust. In an industry where it's very difficult to know that. By partnering that way, I really mean helping customers tell one another which product or service is right for them, no matter how that falls out.

Phoebe: You have brought so much value. I'm just looking back over the notes, brand journalism community, there's a lot of important links in here, videos, information from Lara all about this. Again, most important thing, don't sweat it right now at the time of the taping of this episode. Facebook is again changing its algorithms, but it's just making us all provide more meaningful content. I think that that's important. That is, after all, what humans should do and more important, that should be translated over to the brand. So Lara, thank you for everything that you shared. Thanks for being on the Brand Journalism Advantage.

Lara Eastburn: Thank you, Phoebe.


My grandfather – a salesman & preacher – taught me everything I use today in marketing!


The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.

I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to help you have more meaningful social interactions. –Mark Zuckerberg. Read more here.

Success Quote 

Speak human, win the Internet.

Career Highlight

Lara started a hula hoop company. Find out what her “ah moment” was and how it changed the way she does business in the social media world.

When It Didn’t Work

Find out how a too trusting Southern girl got burned and what Lara learned to do to make her business succeed.

Top Tips 

The 5 Most Engaged Facebook Audiences

The FIVE Audiences we’ll cover:

  1. Remarketing: The people who visit your website
  2. Page Engagement: The people who like, comment, and share your Facebook Page posts
  3. Mailing List: Yup, your subscribing peeps.
  4. Video Engagement: The people who actually watch your videos.
  5. Lookalikes:  The people who behave on Facebook in ways eerily similar to the 4 audiences above. This is how you expand your audiences!

What is one piece of technology, video, multimedia equipment, or app that you just can’t live without?

The Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer – use it for blog titles, email subject lines, really any copy you want people to read. Try it here.  

One book, documentary, blog, podcast, or Internet Channel to watch?

Jay Acunzo, Sorry for Marketing

Get a free audiobook when you try Audible free for 30 days:  www.audibletrial.com/TBJApodcast

OR to get a physical copy of the book…click the book title.

It’s an Amazon affiliate link. It won’t cost you more but it will send me a few coins to keep on building our crazy good content here. 🙂


Twitter @LaraEastburn

Lara Eastburn website

Mentioned In This Episode

5 Most Engaged Facebook Audiences, watch the videos

Facebook is Changing the Newsfeed again, read more

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Phoebe Chongchua
Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist, Brand Consultant & Marketing Strategist who is revolutionizing brand communication with consumers. She makes companies remarkable using brand journalism storytelling to grow their online presence, build a community, and gain greater market share. Phoebe is a former TV News journalist who helps brands gain a competitive advantage by learning to "Be the Media". Phoebe is the host of "The Brand Journalism Advantage" podcast and a "Top 50 Podcaster To Follow". Listen in iTunes or at ThinkLikeAJournalist.com

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