Is it Reel-y Time To Create Video Content? With The Business Besties

In this week’s episode, we hear from our resident guest Kendra Swalls from Girls Means Business. Kendra is a mompreneur and a strong advocate of helping women transition from survival to success mode. 

In this episode, we talk about how to up your social media game in the summertime. Is summer really a downtime for marketers or is it still an opportunity to create content for your audience? Also, she shares her thoughts on the photo vs video debate while sharing some of the best practices you must know once you ride into the reel craze.

As usual, it was an amazing conversation with Kendra as we discussed the following points:

  1. Spending summers as social media managers

  2. Photos vs videos for social media engagement

  3. “We build our own algorithm”

  4. Trending vs original audio

  5. The power of social media scheduling

So if you’re searching for answers on how to up your social media skills, summer or not, Kendra’s tips and tricks are perfect for you!

Visit Kendra’s website:


Learn more about Katie and Next Step Social Communications:


00:00:00] Katie: Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you are listening to Rocky Mountain Marketing with nearly two decades helping business owners, consultants, and coaches with their digital marketing. I know that social media can be an incredible tool to grow your business when you know how to do it the right way. And that’s what we’re going to do today.

[00:00:18] I teach you how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship and digital marketing, and hopefully you’ll grow your business with a few great tips. You wouldn’t have known otherwise, and maybe even discover a great local business you love. Let’s dive into today’s episode. 

[00:00:33] Welcome back to another episode with my business bestie, Kendra Swalls, I’m Katie Brinkley, and we bring you these episodes once a month to share some of the insights that we’re experiencing as entrepreneurs and women business owners. 

[00:00:52] Kendra, I love these episodes and it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve done one. Cuz the last time we recorded one was back at PodFest. You know.

[00:01:02] Kendra: I got used to us doing these every month and then we skipped the last two months because we recorded a lot in May. And so I’m excited to get to do this again. And I know we’ve both been busy this summer had a lot going on, so I’m excited to touch base and kind of dive into surviving summer mode as mompreneurs and entrepreneurs and all the things. 

[00:01:25] Katie: Well, and that’s the thing, Kendra. I take a giant step back from work in the summer. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to become an entrepreneur is to have that work life balance.

[00:01:36] And my kids, I mean, they’re young. I mean, you’ve got young kids too, but, Vivian is five, Evelyn turned eight over the summer. And God bless ’em, they still think I’m cool. Wait until they find out the truth that mom is not cool, but during the summers, they enjoy hanging out with me. And so I take a giant step back from, from work over the summer, and I have a lot of systems and processes in place so that I can do that.

[00:02:02] One of the things that I’ve also done this summer is taking the giant step back on, on social media. Now, as somebody that works in social media, I’m sure that sounds a little odd, but. It’s all about, what works for you and for your lifestyle and, and your audience. 

[00:02:18] Kendra: And it’s funny because I feel like in this case, I’ve done the opposite of you. So my summers, I typically do kind of scale back a little bit, and my schedule’s more relaxed. I do spend more time with my kids, but at the same time, I’m also like we don’t have to be up any and be anywhere to certain time. I don’t have sports schedules in the evenings. I don’t, it’s a lot more relaxed time.

[00:02:42] So I feel like I have even more time to get things done, which, oh man is odd. I don’t know how this has happened. I’m in some kind of weird like time warp summer thing, but it’s nice because when it’s becomes four or five o’clock in the afternoon and my husband is on his way home from work, I’m like, oh, we don’t actually have to go anywhere.

[00:03:00] I’m so used to, okay, school’s out. We have two hours, then we have softball or we have basketball or we have art class or we have whatever else the kids have going on five nights a week. And so it’s been kind of nice to be able to have time. When he gets home, they’ll usually go outside and swim or play and I’ll have a couple hours just quiet house I can work. I do a little more in the evenings. I don’t mind staying up later cuz I don’t have to be up super early. 

[00:03:25] And I’ve really kind of been spending even more time on social media this summer. So we kind of did a nice little like flip flop there, which we can talk about like. You know, the differences in those two things, but I think it’s the beauty of having your own business is that you get to choose what your schedule looks like.

[00:03:42] And when you do spend downtime versus uptime. 

[00:03:46] Katie: Yeah. And I think that too, during the summer, things are always tricky on social media. I think during the summer, things are tricky. And then during the Christmas holidays, things were really tricky with ads. So there are certain times of the year where people, I think it’s a collective panic amongst people of like, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second.

[00:04:06] How come like, so for the ads over the holidays, like we typically maybe we’ll be doing, I’ll do an ad for someone and we spend maybe 13 cents per website click. And then all of a sudden during, you know, the month of December, we’re spending a dollar or something. 

[00:04:20] Kendra: Right. 

[00:04:20] Katie: Ridiculous. And it’s things kind of get weird at certain times of the year. And I feel like every summer. We hear the collective, I don’t know, reassurance from people in the social media world. Like you and myself saying, you know, don’t worry. Everyone’s reach is down right now. Don’t worry.

[00:04:39] Kendra: Yeah, no, I think that’s true. I mean, I know I’ve gotten messages and seen people commenting on social media and there are, you know, they’ll be like, oh my gosh.

[00:04:47] I’m like, I was getting these great views and this great engagement. All of a sudden it’s completely dropped off. What am I doing wrong? And I have to reiterate the fact that like, you are not doing anything wrong. If you think about it, like your schedule’s different, like you were just saying you haven’t spent as much time on social media.

[00:05:03] You’ve been spending more time with your kids. You’ve been out traveling and doing fun things. And so you’re not spending time scrolling and liking and commenting and sharing and all those things. And so the majority of people, especially if your target audience is in that age range of pretty much an adult, basically, but if they’re in that range of like, they are enjoying their summer break. Now, granted we have to keep in mind, this is only the Northern hemisphere that’s in summer break. So you do have half the globe that is not experiencing this, but the majority of us are taking summers to slow down and spend less time.

[00:05:39] I also think that you have this sort of pendulum swing in social media. And we kind of hit that at this point in the summer as well. So it kind of double, you know, hit us with it being summer. People are taking time away. They’re not spending so much time on their phone. And then the fact that Instagram is making and social media in general is evolving and growing and it’s turning into something that a lot of people aren’t happy with. 

[00:06:10] And so a lot of people are like, you know what? I’m taking a break. I can’t deal with this right now. It’s too much change, too much growth. I don’t know what’s happening. So I’m just gonna take a step back. And so that mixed with summer low engagement, it equals this like huge dip and people are panicking when really like, it’s fine, cuz everybody’s experiencing it.

[00:06:31] Katie: Exactly. I think that everyone’s reach as low right now. If you’ve been spending a lot of time on Instagram, uh they’ve man, it has become a full time job to keep up with all of their updates. But really, and I was talking with somebody about this the other day we’ve turned, maybe it was you Kendra, because we talk like every day, but we’ve turned from being, you know, social on social media, into consumers.

[00:07:00] We’re on there consuming. And when it feels like, eh, okay, well I’m done consuming. Like why would TV? I open it up and now I’m scrolling through videos. I’m watching this, you know, I’m just consuming. If you take that step back from being a consumer, and start being social on it again, you don’t necessarily need to be showing up every day, creating the content that can happen that can cause that burnout. If you show up and engage with other accounts that are your ideal clients or customers, or that might be in your niche, it could give, you know, the other people that are spending time on the platform right now that little extra nudge to remember who you are or to follow you or to learn more about what you do.

[00:07:42] So I do think that if your reach and engagement is down right now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doing anything wrong. Maybe just take that as the opportunity to start engaging with some of your followers again, and start being social on their accounts. I also think too exactly with what you said, Kendra on people are getting burnt out.

[00:08:04] Video is hard on a lot of people. It can be hard trying to think of those ideas. Whereas before, when you think about it, Instagram, I used to, I was actually scrolling through my personal account, over the weekend because a girlfriend said, yeah, I’ve been tagging you on, you know, some posts. And I was like, He never tagged me on anything.

[00:08:22] She’s like, yeah, it’s, you know, blah, blah, blah. I was like, oh, that’s my personal, I haven’t opened that I think since last October.

[00:08:30] Kendra: I don’t think I knew you had a personal account. 

[00:08:32] Katie: I do. I rarely use it obviously, but I had all these tags from her and all these DMs of stuff. And I was like, oh man, I should go over here more often.

[00:08:41] And I was looking at the pictures that I had been posting. And that’s how Instagram used to be is, you know, posting a pretty picture, you know, Hey, does anyone wanna see what I’m eating today? You know, I mean, like that’s how we were showing up on Instagram. Now that we’ve turned into this video first format, that’s, it’s hard on a lot of people to, to not get burnt out with creating the video. And it sure seems like lately that’s what, you know, Mr. Miseria at Instagram wants from us. 

[00:09:10] Kendra: Yeah, no, you’re right. And he actually, as Mossimo as I refer to him, because I can never remember how to say his name correctly. At the time of recording this, he came out with a video today kind of addressing this topic. And he was saying, you know, we hear what you’re saying, because you know, obviously people are commenting and tagging and even I like made a reel recently, you know, kind of referencing him and using one of his video clips as a way of being like, saying like, okay, it’s enough.

[00:09:38] We’ve had enough, like you’ve done enough, like take a break. And so I think that he gets it and they see what we’re saying. And the video was talking about people’s concern over like photo going away on Instagram that video’s taking over and what’s gonna happen to those of us who like sharing photos?

[00:09:59] You know, I come from photography world where like, that’s what they do. Like photographers. That’s what we do. We share photos, like, what are we supposed to do? Turn every photo shoot into a video shoot? That’s not gonna happen. And so he was saying, which I thought was interesting was they’re not saying that photos aren’t still valuable.

[00:10:19] They’re still going to be a place in for them. And I do think that. If you’re sharing photo content, you will have to step it up a little bit and make sure that it is really appealing visually. You know, you’re not gonna be to just post like the random phone photo of your lunch that day and have it, you know, have success.

[00:10:37] You’re gonna have to step up your photography a little bit, but what he was saying about the video piece is we as users, we talk a lot about the algorithm and like, oh, the algorithm’s changing and oh, they changed the algorithm. Guys, we are the algorithm. Like I just wanna reiterate that we are the algorithm, like what we are engaging with controls the algorithm.

[00:11:00] And what he was saying was that as consumers that they’re seeing that the consumers on Instagram are engaging more with video content. They are liking it. They’re commenting on it more, they’re sharing it more often. They’re saving it more, all these things. And so that’s telling Instagram and the powers that be that we want more video content because that’s what we’re engaging with.

[00:11:25] And so he’s kind of putting it back on us is the users to say like, Hey Tim, you know, if this is what you’re saying, you don’t wanna be using his video, but yet all you’re engaging with is video then you’re giving us mixed signals here.

[00:11:40] Katie: Okay. So great example, great example of this. Oh, so for those who might not be aware, Facebook is actually allowing reels on actual Facebook.

[00:11:50] But when I add the stuff I see on Facebook is very different than the stuff I see on Instagram. On my Facebook feed, all I see is stuff and granted keep this in mind to when this episode is coming out, we are recording just a few days before this episode drops. All I see on my Facebook reels is the Amber Heard – Johnny Depp trial stuff in reels format.

[00:12:12] I don’t know when it ended. I think it ended about.

[00:12:14] Kendra: Two months ago. Yeah, it’s been a long time. 

[00:12:16] Katie: It’s been a while, but man, I sure dive right into those. I watch them all the time. I’ve never seen one of those Amber Heard Johnny Depp reel show up on Instagram. I haven’t. And that’s the thing is like, Facebook knows like, oh, well, every time we show her this Johnny Depp trial, she watches at least 10 more of them.

[00:12:37] Let’s just keep feeding those to Katie Brinkley. On Instagram, I’m getting, you know, tutorials, I’m getting business tips. It’s a completely different set of content that I’m seeing. I’m the same person. The way that I engage on Instagram is different than the way that I’m engaging on Facebook, which I still use mostly for just personal use.

[00:13:00] And I think that exactly what you said, if people are gonna be engaging and watching a lot of these reels, they’re gonna keep showing you more. One of my clients, all that her feed is reels. I haven’t seen cuz that’s what, cause I, I have the luxury of seen a lot of people’s accounts in the way that they appear. Her stuff is 100% reels.

[00:13:21] I haven’t seen a carousel post in her feed in months. I still see a lot of carousels in my feed because those are the ones that I’m engaging with a lot. 

[00:13:29] Kendra: Right. Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing is like, we’re the ones controlling it. Like I, and I still have a pretty good mix of the two. A lot of it, I think is because the content that I go in and I save inside of my Instagram account is content. That is stuff that I wanna recreate. And so a lot of it is static post, quotes, carousel, and then reels as well. And so I still get a mix of all of those. If I go scroll through my Instagram, it’s probably gonna be I would say probably 70, 30, 70% reels, 30%, everything else, maybe closer to like 60, 40 some days, but I still get a good mix, but yeah, I’m sure if you go on to other people’s accounts that you’re gonna see something completely different because everybody is engaging with something different.

[00:14:16] So all that to say, like one keep in mind, you’re telling Instagram.

[00:14:22] Katie: You’re building your algorithm. 

[00:14:24] Kendra: You are. You’re building your own like little world. 

[00:14:27] Katie: Yes. 

[00:14:27] Kendra: Based on what you’re doing.

[00:14:29] Katie: Yes. 

[00:14:29] Kendra: And so it’s hard to get mad at the algorithm. Stop blaming the algorithm because it you’re blaming yourself, essentially. And I think that as far as for those people who are like, okay, I’m terrified of this, because video is taking over. And I don’t wanna create video. I like consuming video, but I don’t wanna create video. I think that it’s kind of like with anything. And I can’t remember if I talked about this on this bar podcast, or I’ve not talked about others, but.

[00:14:56] It’s like when my parents were running their company, you know, they were right at the cusp of when the internet came along and they decided not to build a website for the longest time. And all of these other companies around them in their same kind of niche were building websites. And they were like, no, we’re fine.

[00:15:14] We’re just this little mom and pop business. We don’t need to build a website. And they sort of like left behind a little bit because they weren’t willing. to try something and think about now, like if there’s a business that doesn’t have a website out there, it’s a business that doesn’t really exist anymore.

[00:15:29] And the same thing unfortunately right now with video content is, it’s just one more step in evolution. We went from written text content to photo content to multiple photo images to now video. And it’s just the progression next I know. And, and that’s where I’m like, oh Lord, I’m gonna have to get into the metaverse like you’re gonna have to pull me and their dragging and screaming.

[00:15:57] Katie: You know somebody named Katie Brinkley that can help you.

[00:16:00] Kendra: I know. Yeah. So I’ll help you with video. You help me dragging and screaming into the metaverse. 

[00:16:06] Katie: Well, and Kendra, I think that too well before we start going into the metaverse topic, which can be a whole another conversation for another day. I think that, you know, this is one of the things to keep in mind as we are nearing the end of the weird summer lull in reach months, you’re controlling your own algorithm.

[00:16:27] Video isn’t going away, but that doesn’t mean that you need to burn yourself out on it. You can start engaging more and creating less. Keep in mind that social media was originally designed to be social, not consuming. And there’s other ways you can go, you know, have your presence on video without having to do a reel, um, you can go live.

[00:16:53] You can show up in your stories. I’m pop calling the kettle black right now, but you know, not, but showing up in stories with actually you and not just re-sharing your own posts. Again, I am guilty of doing this lately, but these are different ways that you can still show up for your audience on social media during the summer months, when maybe you’ve wanted to take a little bit of a step back.

[00:17:17] Kendra: Okay, so you made a good point there because I wanna briefly touch on the idea of how to stay on social media without being present on social media, if you will. And I think it all comes going down to, yes, it’s scheduling. It’s pre, it’s batching your content and pre-scheduling your content. And with, they’ve just announced recently, I know you’ve been sharing about this on your Instagram and stuff is that you can now schedule your reels. 

[00:17:49] Um, you’ve been able to schedule posts and stories, right? I’ve never actually scheduled a story, but I know you can. Yep. Um, so you can schedule posts, you can schedule stories and now you can schedule reels.

[00:18:00] And so there’s really no excuse to not show up consistently in your business. Obviously I think that there are some sort of caveats to that. One is you don’t wanna just schedule a month’s worth of content and then never log into Instagram again, or Facebook or wherever you’re posting to, because you do still need to engage with your audience and engage with the people who are commenting liking or sharing your content.

[00:18:25] But if you’re someone who’s feeling a little overwhelmed with social media right now, and you’re like, I need to take a break, but I don’t wanna disappear, scheduling is a great way to stay consistent and continue putting content out without having to physically be logging into the platform every day if you don’t want to. 

[00:18:44] Katie: And nothing makes me happier than hearing you say that, Kendra. So because I’ve been using a scheduler for a while now and it’s made it so that I don’t get burnt out on social media. I’ll sit down and I designate about an hour, hour and a half a week to my social media. But that’s all I have to do.

[00:19:07] Like that’s whether that’s creating the content, if it’s batching reels, if it’s me, if I’ve already done all that, I’ll just spend that time engaging throughout the week. But that’s all that it takes me because I have a scheduler. And also for those that follow me on social media, they know the month of July was tricky for me.

[00:19:25] I lost my computer for about 10 days and honestly business was able to go on basically as usual because I had a scheduler in systems and processes set up. So using a scheduler helps tremendously. Now, one of the things I wanna talk about really quick before we wrap up this episode, when using a scheduler to schedule your reels, something very important to keep in mind is that it focus more on the original content. 

[00:19:53] So if you have your own music, if you’re doing a talking head kind of tutorial, or if you’ve, you know, uploaded the music into the reel, like through Canva or something, or if you’re a podcast sharing a part of your podcast, those all work for scheduling your reels. Now, if you’re using trending audio, you still need to upload those manually. 

[00:20:16] Kendra: Yeah. Cuz you probably have noticed you can’t download the audio. So if you’re someone who has listened to myself or Katie probably too, I think you’ve talked about this. I know that I had this happen to me multiple times because I don’t take my advice.

[00:20:32] And I now save all of my reels to my phone because I’ve had them all deleted when I was logged out of Instagram on accident. All of my saved reels, I had batched like 15 of them just gone. It was awful it’s happened twice. Now. It will never happen again because I’ve saved them all to my phone. However, when you save one with a trending audio, it saves it without the audio, because Instagram does not let you download their license audio library, a content library, whatever. And TikTok won’t either. No. So if you are using trending, you will have to manually upload it and add that audio to the reel. 

[00:21:09] But that’s the thing is, I mean, the trend supposedly is going towards more original audio. And so I think that’s one way of Instagram saying, like, we are more interested in you sharing with your voice, your ideas, your expertise, and here’s a way to help you do that more seamlessly and easily is by allowing you to schedule these. 

[00:21:30] So you don’t have to go into the app each time you wanna post them. So they’re really making it easier for us to start doing more of that type of content. So it, and that’s good news for those people who don’t like the idea of I don’t wanna dance or point or lip sync or do these things that seem really cheesy.

[00:21:46] Um, quick little funny side story. I was sitting at my daughter’s tee-ball practice couple months ago. And I’m talking to this mom who I’ve just recently met because our girls are on the team together and she’s on her phone and she’s like, oh, I just don’t understand these people who make these videos where they’re like lip syncing to somebody else’s voice doesn’t make any sense to me.

[00:22:08] And I’m over here, like just tuck in my head. I’m like, I’m one of those people.

[00:22:15] Katie: But, OK. So that being said, no, just real fast before you finish your story, like that’s where you have to have that balance of you know, there’s something for everybody there’s yeah. You know, some people love, yours, truly, I love those.

[00:22:28] I think those ones are fun to do for me. I find them relatable because I do a lot of stuff with, um, you know, the office kind of voiceovers. So I’m able to bring in some of my personality. So I love being able to use trending audio or other or lip syncing, but I know how important it is to do the talking head ones to establish the authority and to provide that value piece for the people that tune in just to see those, you know .

[00:22:53] Kendra: Yeah. I mean, I was just gonna say, like, I think the same thing you said is like, there is a place for everybody and if you are listening to this and you’re thinking, okay, Kendra, Katie you’ve convinced me. I’m gonna start putting, like, dipping my toe in the water of video content. You have to figure out like, okay, which type of video content. Are you gonna feel the most comfortable with and for some people it is that, I mean, the lipstick to me is kind of a stepping stone because you don’t have to worry about how your voice sounds or what you’re saying.

[00:23:23] You’re stumbling over your words. It’s just literally you moving your mouth to somebody else’s audio, or maybe you’re someone, you know, there’s people we’ve like, we both follow Virginia Kerr, love her. And she does almost 99.9% of her content is original audio and she has great success with that.

[00:23:41] And then you have other people who are these, you know, bigger, big name, larger accounts and they do almost all trending audio. And so there’s some that do a mix of the both. So it’s finding what works for you. There is a place for all of us in this new direction that Instagram and social media is headed.

[00:24:02] And so don’t worry about trying to fit yourself into one box or another. I want you to focus more on where do I feel the most comfortable and where can I start kind of testing the waters. And then again, keep in mind that when you try something new, it’s gonna be a slow build. So just know just like the, you know, right now we’re in summer months, engagement’s slowing down a little bit.

[00:24:27] And so it’s a good time to kind of experiment with some things. Just know it takes time for that algorithm to adjust to the new content that you’re putting out there. 

[00:24:37] Katie: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode of Rocky Mountain Marketing. Make sure to subscribe so that you can continue navigating the world of entrepreneurship. And I’d love to hear from you. Please leave the show or review and connect with me on social media. You can find me on Instagram at @iamkatiebrinkley. Or connect with me on LinkedIn. And if you’re ready to start making some sales on social media, be sure to grab my free guide to selling in the DMs without being sparing. You can get that at Let’s keep taking your marketing to all new Heights.