Forward with NACCE

Unveiling the Secrets of Social Media Success, with Student Kyle Barber

September 27, 2023 National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship
Forward with NACCE
Unveiling the Secrets of Social Media Success, with Student Kyle Barber
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode,  Dr. Corbin's diving into the journey of Kyle Barber, a young and talented social media enthusiast. Kyle shares his experiences as a student at Alamance Community College, his role as a social media management intern at Earfluence, and his insights into the ever-evolving world of content creation. Join us as we explore the importance of resilience, adaptability, and embracing unexpected opportunities in the digital age. If you're curious about the world of social media and entrepreneurship, this episode is a must-listen!

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Intro/Outro - 00:00:10:

Life has so many unexpected twists and turns, just to get to where I'm at. There's a lot of adapting, I think that's what's been hard for our generation but I think at the same time all of these things have just shown how resilient we are.

Intro/Outro - 00:00:29:

Welcome to Forward with NACCE, Inspiring Entrepreneurial Action, a podcast that shares the stories of everyday entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial leaders, and the communities that support us. We hope that this diverse collection of stories brings you inspiration, inspires you to take action, and ignites entrepreneurship in your community as we make our way forward together.

Becky - 00:00:52:

Welcome to this episode of Forward with NACCE. I'm Rebecca Corbin, President and CEO of NACCE and the host of this discussion. So I'm really thrilled today to bring a student, a sort of an entrepreneurial minded leader to you that's connected to our partner Earfluence. I wanna welcome Kyle Barber and I'm really happy to see you today. How are you doing today?

Kyle - 00:01:17:

I'm doing great. Thank you for that awesome introduction.

Becky - 00:01:21:

And yeah, well, we're going to get into more about you. But you know, personal disclosure, I love talking with students and just seeing sort of all possibilities are in front of you. So share with us a little bit, Kyle, about your background, where are you coming to today, and what are some of your educational pursuits and professional aspirations?

Kyle - 00:01:45:

Well, currently I am a student at Alamance Community College, so I'm just busy working on getting my Associate in the Arts and then possibly transferring from there we're gonna see on that and I'm also currently a social media management intern over at Earfluence who is producing this podcast. So it all works out.

Becky - 00:02:10:

That's awesome, and I know Cee Cee Huffman our producer. We love Cee Cee, she does such a fantastic job and very creative. So tell us, how did you get connected? How did you find out about Earfluence? How did you get this spot?

Kyle - 00:02:25:

Um, well I have always had a passion for content creation, I've actually run like my own YouTube channel and things like independently since like 2012. So for like over 10 years now, I've kind of been in this space and, and seen it evolve and so I'm always, you know, as someone who comes from North Carolina, it can be hard to like find other people in a similar kind of niche to me that also like creating content and putting it on the internet for everyone to see. So I was looking up like different content creator meetups and I happened to find one that was near me in Raleigh. So I was like, okay, cool, let me check this out, so I like went to a few meetings and I happened to run into Jason, who is the CEO of Earfluence. And so he was kind of asking me, he's like, so what are you trying to do? And it was around like the summertime and I was like, oh, well, I'm trying to see if I can get like an internship. I'm still trying to figure out a little bit of what I wanna do, but I know it's probably gonna be maybe something in the social media space or in like marketing or something like that in that vein that uses those content creation skills that I've acquired over the years and he was like, oh, well, it just so happens we're looking for an intern for our podcasting company. And so he gave me his email, he's like, all right, shoot me an email and you know, the rest is history. So yeah, I've been with him for a few months now and I've really been enjoying it and it's been a great opportunity.

Becky - 00:03:55:

Yeah, Jason is a great leader and I've learned a lot from him over time. He also grows other leaders, which I think is probably the best quality of any leader of an organization, especially growing one like Earfluence. So Kyle, for those that might be Gen Xers like myself, that were sort of newer to social media, tell us what is a day in your life like, either through your internship or some of the other things that you're involved in. What kind of social media platforms do you most often use?

Kyle - 00:04:30:

Most often for myself personally, I would say currently right now, it'd probably be more Instagram and TikTok, I think ever since COVID short form became like a really big space, a big industry within the creator economy and so I really doubled down on that a lot. But nowadays I've started pivoting a little bit more back to long form, back to long form YouTube content like I used to, and also YouTube shorts so I'm dabbling a bit in that. So those I would say are the main platforms, but I mean, I'm always on Twitter somehow, I'm always on a little bit of everything.

Becky - 00:05:08:

It's not Twitter anymore Kyle.

Kyle - 00:05:10:

Yeah, Yeah,X.

Becky - 00:05:11:

It’s X.

How do you call it, yeah, but that platform's changing every day, name included, so it's hard to, I guess, build stability or like a career on there right now. So it's less of that, but I'm still testing a lot of things out, but mainly Instagram, TikTok, YouTube. I'm trying to build LinkedIn and more of a professional presence for the industries I might be getting into in the future.

Becky - 00:05:36:

That's a great idea, I think that's a great goal too I mean, I use LinkedIn a lot, I really started using it about 10 years ago when I left my role working at a college as a vice president and joined NACCE as the CEO and I was trying to figure out like, how am I going to keep in touch with people in like 50 states, which is impossible, it’s mind blowing. But what I found out is using social media, professionally, but having sort of your own brand to it, so it's not for me, not too relaxed and I don't share a ton of personal things on there but I know there's different kind of rules and engagement for each one. So LinkedIn for people like me is the easiest because it is the professional one, right? It's what have you done? What are you doing? What are you looking for? But I'd love to talk to you about TikTok because I'm not on that at all, which is probably a good thing, I'm guessing. But what would you say to people that are like interested in experimenting with it? What might they do? If they're kind of somebody who's been working for a while, they don't know a lot about it. How do they learn about it? What are the usages of it?

Kyle - 00:06:46:

That's a great question. I would say to anyone who's interested in experimenting with any kind of content creation, I'd say, just go for it. And I'm kind of preaching to myself a little bit too, because sometimes I think we can kind of be like overthinking it and like over calculating sometimes when we decide, oh, should we try this thing? Should we not? But I think a lot of how social media can be sometimes is just experimentation and like A B testing and trying to figure it out. So I would say definitely when it comes to TikTok, absolutely give it a shot. I think it can be, I think TikTok is very, it's very unique because first of all, it was the birthplace of culture to me, like it kind of created its own culture, like none of these other apps started doing short form video until TikTok blew up during the pandemic and stuff. And so that's like where you find all the content first like you can go on Instagram reels, but everything on there is gonna be like two week, two month old TikToks. So TikTok is like the core place and I think it's so fun to be able to immerse yourself in all the different communities that they have on the app. So I think for pretty much every niche out there, there's like something you can take away from it or something you can learn. There's like knitting TikTok, there's gaming TikTok, there's podcast production TikTok.

Becky - 00:08:08:

It's funny you mentioned that because I'm gonna put my teacher hat on for a second. So you're an entrepreneur, you're a student, you're obviously a key part of Cee Cee's team. So with our podcast, what if we wanted to make a TikTok video about it? So the title of it, as you know, is Forward with Nacce. We talk to everyday entrepreneurs, we talk to authors, we talk to public officials, we talk to leaders about using entrepreneurial mindset. Talk me through, because it's a little bit of free advice also that I'm eliciting from you, like what would a TikTok video potentially look like for our podcast if our goal was to try to increase awareness for the Forward with Nacce podcast?

Kyle - 00:08:51:

I would say to start, I think it's always good to look at your target demographic, I think you have to analyze, you have to look at your own brand message and figure out how you want that to translate to the specific target audience is always a good thing. So using Earfluence, for an example, I was figuring out the target demographic, I had a meeting with them when I first got onboarded and I was like, so what is your vision? How would you like to present yourself on social media? And so they already had a list of ideas that directly connected with their brand. And so I was able to execute and build onto that. So basically, they gave me their target demographic, they're like, all right, we're looking for like 25, like year olds to 50 year olds we're trying to target. So in the older demographic, and they said that they wanna make a more personable social media presence. They wanna show the faces of the team members so that

Becky - 00:09:55:

I saw that. I think I saw that on social media. Was that the one that you did where there was music and it was, I thought was so great. I loved that one.

Kyle - 00:10:04:

Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

Becky - 00:10:07:

Yeah, that would be cool. In fact, I watched it and I thought that would be kind of cool to do for Nacce, something like that. I thought just because it was, it made you smile and laugh and you could see the personalities of the people. I don't know all the people, but I know you now, I know Cee Cee obviously the best, I know Jason a little bit and then a couple of the other folks. So I think that's a great, it's a great example. And maybe what we could do is we'll include the link to that somehow in the , I'd love for people who are listening to this to check that out. It's really creative. So I imagine, Kyle, there's like levels of what you work up to, right? How does one get? To be very exceptional at social media? Like what kind of qualities or what kind of practices do you need to employ?

Kyle - 00:10:58:

I think, like I mentioned before, I think a lot of social media can be, it's a lot about consistency. I think me and a lot of my peers in the same space would say the same thing. You know, you have to be very dedicated to something I think for a long time, uh, especially when it comes to creating content online to really, to really get a feel for it, to know what works and what doesn't work. And also I think the algorithm is just going to favor you when you post more and more consistently. It's hard to really get anywhere if you're doing it sporadically that's just kind of, you know, the current reality and, um, it also takes patience, depending on the platform you have, it can take a while to build audiences. I think now with short form, it's made it a little bit easier, um, to reach out to more people quicker because there's a lot of organic reach on short form videos compared to a long form on YouTube, like, I did YouTube for like three and a half years before I had a single viral video, uh, so it can take, it can take work, you know, and, um, I think over time you learn more things, you know, you get more strategies, you do things a lot faster than you would have before. And so, you know, there's like a lot of things I didn't know when I was first starting out and I was like 10 years old, you know, running my YouTube channel. But through my first viral video blowing up, it was on a trending topic at the time, it was for this video game that had just come out and it was like a new franchise. So there were no videos from it before and I was like one of the first people to make a video for it, I did like a full blown like cosplay, like reenactment of the game and it got like over a million views. Oh my gosh, that's cool. Insane numbers. So from that, I was able to know kind of like what works and be like, all right, well, you know, there's trending topics I can do. And I know that if I'm trying to be able to get more views and engagement, if I, you know, kind of sort of capitalize on those, that's going to make things easier. You know, even in the videos I do now for Earfluence, sometimes using like different trends or like trending songs and things like that can kind of help you a bit in the

Becky - 00:13:05:

Oh my gosh, you are just so good at that. That's really interesting, but I can see how your mind thinks. And we have a good friend here at NACCE, Paul Sol, who heads up the Florida high tech corridor and he was retired admiral now is running kind of an organization that's not exactly the same as NACCE, but similar. And I asked him, I said, what was the key to your success? And he said, he follows the energy. He goes where the positive energy goes. And I thought that when you were talking, I was thinking A little bit about that. Now, I want to get into, that was really helpful, so hopefully everybody who's listening can write down those tips. I wrote them down, so I'm gonna try to learn from this. But you mentioned Alamance Community College, and I wanna ask you, why did you choose to go there and how has that helped you? Because obviously you come to the table with a lot of knowledge, you've got a lot more credibility than probably a lot of professionals who've been doing this for a while. What led to that decision and how has the experience been for you?

Kyle - 00:14:06:

Well, firstly, thank you. I'm so honored for you saying that, that means a lot. And second off, I know you mentioned why I picked Alamance, I would say I feel like they, because I toured a bunch of different schools, um, as I was finishing up high school and then like afterwards, which was, uh, a little bit tricky cause of COVID and stuff. I was class of 2020, so that was kind of crazy, but I tried to the best of my ability to tour all the options and I found that Alamance really just, I feel like gives the best support out of those schools to its students. You know, you want to be in an environment that treats you, I think more like a person than a number, I think that can be a helpful thing, you know, and they have a lot of resources to be able to help you, um, better succeed in the courses and all the things you do. And so that really, that really stuck out to me and I had some really good conversations with a lot of the staff and they seem like genuinely like passionate about what they do and that they like care for the students. And, you know, not, not to name names, I won't, I won't throw shade today, you know, but you know, there's a few others that definitely did not have that same aura, you know, that, that, that probably weren't willing to do what they should to be able to help students succeed. So that's what it comes down to.

Becky - 00:15:33:

That's good. I'm really happy to hear that. And, you know, we all need to find our place, right? What place works for us? And I can see, gosh, so many great things. It's funny, my daughter graduated from high school during the pandemic too and it's, you seem like you came through it and you thrived and, you know, it was difficult for everybody. But I feel to some extent people of, your generation and her generation, they say that will be the defining moment as it was for 9-11, for the previous generation. So I'm just very proud of the work that you're doing. We love our partnership with Earfluence. And I thank you for sharing your story today and we're gonna continue to see fantastic things from you. So thank you so much, Kyle. Thank you for the good work you're doing. I hope you have a great day.

Kyle - 00:16:23:

Absolutely. And thank you so much for having me. Just to comment on what you said earlier, because I think that was a great piece as well. I would say COVID was the defining moment, you know? And coming out of that, I think, was kind of difficult. I think it took a big detour on our plans.

Becky - 00:16:41:

Yeah, for sure.

Kyle - 00:16:43:

But I think just if I can leave a message to kind of send us off, I think, I would say that life has so many unexpected twists and turns, just to get to where I'm at, to get an internship. There were plenty of periods where I wanted one in a certain industry and they weren't available or things were shut down and they had to lay people off and so there wasn't those opportunities, there's a lot of adapting, you know, I think that's what's been hard for our generation, but I think at the same time. All of these things have just shown how resilient we are. And so, and I really appreciate you for being able to like recognize that in our generation, I think. And so I'm just very excited for, you know, not just what I do in, you know, content creation or social media or marketing, but just the future in general, you know, I'm just very, I'm very excited. And I hope that we can thrive through all the crazy, you know?

Becky - 00:17:49:

Oh, I'm sure you will. And, you know, one thing I saw this somewhere probably on Facebook or one of the other platforms was one of those little quotes that said, what's meant for you won't miss you. And I just thought that was so wise because I think all of us, whether it's you at the early stage of your career or those of us who've been working for a while, sometimes we're like, I have to have this job or I must buy this house or I must have this boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever. And, you know, if you think, if you step back and think there is some sort of divine order to the universe, that great things are in store. If you show up with a good attitude, you keep working at it. And if it truly is meant for you, it will not miss you and you're kind of proof of that. So thank you for that.

Kyle - 00:18:34:

Thank you, of course and I couldn't agree more. You know, I mean, just to be just to be real with you, like earlier this year in the spring, I just happened to miss out on some of probably the biggest opportunities I've been offered in my career so far. But when one door closes another door opens and that's exactly how I'm here.

Becky - 00:18:56:

That’s exactly, and not only that because I've been on the planet longer than you have. I found sometimes I would encounter a disappointment, like been like the runner up to fill in the blank, like I almost got there and then the 11th hour, I didn't get it. And lo and behold, six to nine months later, something even more, a better fit, something more fabulous would happen and I just, I think about that, you know, think about you and thinking you're the same age as my daughter, I think, gosh, if I would have known that at your age, and it sounds like you already know that, but a lot of people don't. So you're ahead of the game, Kyle.

Kyle - 00:19:32:

Thank you, thank you. You know, a lot of learning just to get to this point and we keep going from there. Life of a student in a nutshell.

Becky - 00:19:41:

There you go.

Intro/Outro - 00:19:44:

Thank you for joining us today. We hope that you will continue to explore the many ways to define entrepreneurship with NACCE as we celebrate opportunity, failing forward, and success, learning from one another along the way. Subscribe to this podcast on your favorite platform, follow at NACCE on social media, and learn more about us at forward slash podcast. Stay tuned for a new episode each week. We look forward to making our way forward together with you.