I.C.O.S.A. Framework: Our 5-Step Social Media Strategy

Want to turn social media into a high-impact marketing machine for your brand? Laura Palladino is the Marketing Director at BOOM!, a $40 million-a-year brand, and she joins the podcast to share her proven social media strategy — the ICOSA Framework. ICOSA stands for “Ideation, Creation, Optimization, Syndication, Amplification” and by using this 5-step system, Laura helped BOOM! generate over 355K Facebook fans and 700K email subscribers. You can swipe this framework, get Laura’s daily schedule and watch a bonus video training by going to SmartMarketer.com/ICOSA.

You’ll Learn:

  • BOOM!’s results using the ICOSA system
  • The best types of social content to create
  • How to select the best content to amplify to your audience
  • The step-by-step process for going from ideation to amplification

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Timestamps:

0:43 The Marketing Director of BOOM! (Laura Palladino) drops by the SM Podcast.

1:28 What has Laura been cheffing up?

2:05 What is the goal of the ICOSA Framework?

4:31 Why her Ambassador Program plays a big part in Laura’s social strategy.

6:09 Here’s what ICOSA stands for…

9:56 Try Everything — There’s a good amount of content types to choose from.

11:56 The “media buyer” in Molly couldn’t resist asking this question.

16:41 $4 million in free Facebook ads?

17:51 Squeeze hard and juice your content for all you can.

20:18 Why creating relatable content is still a learning process.

22:26 Thinking short term only works in the short term.

23:36 “Every time you find a new way to connect, you just make that relationship a little bit stronger”

28:18 To swipe this framework, get Laura’s daily schedule, and watch a bonus video training, go to SmartMarketer.com/ICOSA.

29:05 Thanks for listening! To share your feedback or get a question answered on the podcast, follow and message Molly on Instagram at @mollypittmandigital.

Transcript Of Episode 45:

0:00 Laura: So having this framework gives us a step-by-step guide in our day to day. So we know we are being as, productive as we can be towards our goals and content marketing. This also kind of fuels. The rest of our marketing as well. Right? So our content and social media marketing, we’re finding out what is resonating with our community. And then we can use those things that we learn in email marketing in our ads and really every other marketing aspect of the business.

0:43 Molly: Welcome to episode 45 of the smart marketer podcast. I am your host, Molly Pittman, and we have a very special guest for today’s episode. Her name is Laura Paladino and she’s the marketing director at our e-commerce brand, Boom, by Cindy Joseph. We’re bringing Laura. Onto this episode to share what she has learned over the past six years, running the social and content marketing strategies for an e-commerce brand that is on pace to do over $40 million this year, this framework is called the ICOSA framework, and we’re excited to share it with you in this episode so that you can implement it in your business or for your clients. Let’s dive right in.

1:28 Molly: How are you doing Laura?

Laura: I’m good. How are you guys?

Molly: Good. You’re the first guest that we’ve had on the show outside of John, Ezra and I. So this is an exciting episode to reveal this ICO framework that I know everybody’s going to want to use. we also have John here, how’s it going, John?

John: It is going great. I am so excited about today’s session. Laura and I have been cooking some fun stuff up over the past two or three months. Well, really Laura’s been cheffing it up and I’ve been just providing some, some feedback. Exactly. Yes. Thank you. So I can’t wait to hear what you have for us and to talk a little bit about what you’ve been up to,

2:05 Molly: All right, Laura. So let’s talk about this framework. ICOSA framework. So you said that it started as Cosa. I think as rhe created that now we’ve popped in I on the front and yeah. Tell us about this, like first, what is the purpose? Like what is the goal of using this framework? And then let’s walk through the different letters and explain how this works and how our listeners can use this in their businesses.

Laura: Yeah. So the whole goal of the ICO SSA framework is really just like giving us a step-by-step guide to go through, and we put out a lot of content at BOOM! really believe in content marketing.

Having unexperienced or being involved in a conversation with your followers, fans, and subscribers. So having this framework gives us a step-by-step guide in our day to day. So we know we are being as productive as we can be towards our goals and content marketing. This also kind of fuels. The rest of our marketing as well. Right? So our content and social media marketing, we’re finding out what is resonating with our community. And then we can use those things that we learn in email marketing in our ads and really every other marketing aspect of the business.

Molly: And Laura, I think that that piece that you just mentioned is what most people miss out on. So a lot of folks want to put social media or content marketing into the organic traffic bucket. And say, you know, maybe this isn’t worth my time or am I really going to get any traffic from this? Or, you know, algorithms are going to change, et cetera, et cetera. That’s not necessarily what we’re talking about here, guys.

We’re talking about communication essentially. Like really you are the communication director of boom and the messages that we are putting out on different channels. Seeing what resonates and then handing that over to Boris, the CMO and the media buyer to say, Hey, this headline or this blog post, or this hook in general, our audience really likes this.

So obviously we should take this out to more people. This is research. So there’s so much more depth to this than just putting it in the category of posting crap on social media to try to get free traffic.

4:31 John: So I was wondering, Laura, what is the business impact of this? Right? What is this doing for boom?

Laura: Yeah. So I dove in deep to the 2020 analytics and in 2020, our social media efforts generated about $2.4 million directly, but like that doesn’t impact the rest of the marketing channels. So for example, we have an ambassador program, which the social team started manages, and we run it, the whole thing, the social team. So that drove about $3.5 million in revenue on Facebook because we took what worked really well, you know, from our emails, our ads, our blogs, and gave them over to Boris. To run as ads. And Boris is like, this is amazing. I need more of them. So without the social team, if we look at the numbers about the social team, boom probably would have generated about $7.5 million less than 2020, because the content itself brought in about 1.5 million through email and then organic search on the content, another 86,000. So the social team and the content. We are creating and promoting is really a big piece of the puzzle for the rest of the marketing. Yeah. And so amazing. And then there are benefits that we can’t even measure. Yeah. I mean, that’s the other thing. Yeah. Yeah. Like there’s built trust there’s yeah, just like us being a thought leader in the space, because we are out there so much. There’s things you can’t even measure on, on these, the conversations that we have with these women on social media, just amazing. Or they have with each other, you know, we’re fueling a conversation around not our brand directly, but the things our brand wants to talk about.

6:09 John: Well, I think people are ready to start hearing what some of these letters stand for. So do you want to give us the high level? Overview of what ICOSA is. And then maybe we can dive a little deeper into each of the steps.

Laura: Yeah. So high level ICOSA is the framework in which we put together, all of our content, put our content out in the world. We create the masterpiece, we put the masterpiece in a museum, and then we tell the people where it is. Right. If we’re going very, very high level as John and I were talking about. But if we want to go into what the actual letter stand for it, I’m going to give you the cliff notes version of them. So the, I is for ideation, so we really have to figure out what we want to talk about as a brand, what our values are, and also what.

Our community is resonating with. So we get together with our team once a month, look over everything that’s performing. Well, we look at the emails. We look at the blog posts, the ads, everything that’s performing well. And what. Our community is talking about maybe in the comments or on the Facebook post on the Instagram posts.

And then we kind of brainstorm altogether. So we ideate. What else can we do if something’s performing really, really well, how can we ask this question differently? How can we do a compiled nation post of other blog posts like this? Just like ideation, just brainstorming brain dumping. What other pieces of content can we come up with?

So that is the I the season create. So do we want to do another blog post? Do we have to figure out a video? Are we putting together a whole photo shoot, which we’ve done in the past for our women of the pro age revolution, content, pillar? This part is the creation. How are we going to do it? Where are we getting it from?

Who’s doing it. Create. So the, oh, is then optimize. We take that piece of content that we created and optimize it to get it out in the world. We want to put it on Facebook. We want to put it on Instagram. We want to get it on Instagram stories. We need a short clip. If it’s a video, we need pull quotes. If it’s a, either a video or an article, all the different ways that this piece of content can be presented to people, we want to do that.

So that is the optimization. We’re turning that piece of content into as many pieces as we can. So now we have the S. Syndication, and that is actually putting it out there. Schedule on a Facebook scheduling on Instagram scheduling the stories or posting the stories, sending out the email, putting it on the blog, really just syndicating it out in the world, going where the people are so we can get our content out there and visible to as many eyes as we can.

And then we have amplification, which is the last letter. So then we are going to run paid. Ads to these pieces of content either through a page post engagement ad, or we can then sometimes we turn our content into pre-sells where we will, for example, our recent bright launch. We’ll write a post about dazzling eyes and then put.

Ads to the right of that page and run ads to that. So that piece of content is then turned into a pre-sale and we’re amplifying it that way. Just for everyone who doesn’t know, boom, bright is actually a mascara or product. So the bright eyes obviously connect to mascara. So it helps set the stage for someone who is interested in that topic to consider buying that product. And then at the end of all that we re ICOSA start over. So we analyze everything. And then look again at ideation based on how all of these performed. What else can we do?

And that’s just a constant circle of creating and optimizing and syndicating and analyzing it all and starting again. And it really helps our team know what’s coming down the line and really just know our customers.

9:56 John: I love it. Okay, awesome. So that’s a perfect overview. Now let’s take a little deeper into some of these letters and the first one, I’m actually not going to start with.

I all right. We’ve we understand it’s a circle. It follows a certain process, but I’m going to jump around because I’m feeling chaotic today, but you said something very interesting on the creation one, which is, you talked about a photo shoot is creating content. Can you, can you speak a little bit more about what it means to create something.

Yeah. So I think it’s the idea of just creating this one piece, this masterpiece, if you will. There’s a handful of things you can create, create a video, you can create a podcast. So just audio video and audio, you can create an article either very long form or short form a listicle there’s tons of different things you can create as far as content too.

Put on the internet for people to find you or for your followers to get value out of, to get entertained, inspired, or educated about your brand. And that’s really kind of what we focus on when we are creating content is we want to entertain, educate, or inspire the people that are seeing it. That’s awesome.

And I love that. You’re saying it’s not just writing a post. I think a lot of people, when they think about content or think about socialists, oh, I need to write something. Well, it can be a video, like you said, it could be audio. It can be a photo shoot. It’s just assets that help tell whatever story it is.

Your masterpiece is supposed to communicate to the end viewer. Yeah. So sometimes I try to get my husband, Mike, to create content for the gym often. And what I’ll do is just hit record on my phone and ask him a question. Cause he’ll just go deep. You ask him anything about jujitsu. He’ll go deep. So that’s how we create content.

And then I can turn that into an article. Just transcribe it right. Or if you’re comfortable on video. Pop on your iPhone and start recording your video. There’s just so many different ways you can create content. It doesn’t have to be one specific way.

11:56 Molly: Okay. Laura, I’m curious the media buyer in me, curious of course about this amplification side of things. Yeah. what systems or processes do you guys have around this part in terms of, okay. When there’s a new blog, post, or a new piece of content or a new social posts first, how do you decide which ones you are? Boosting essentially just for further distribution. And how is that passed off to Boris? in terms of the ad side of things.

Laura: So I actually jump in there. There is a. Campaign that we call page post engagement. And we will optimize for that, right. Just for engagement and running for years. Right. He’s same campaign has been running for so long. And so I’ll go in every time we have a new blog post, I will go in and choose the Media that.

So if it’s a video, for example, we take a video, we will put it into a blog post. Maybe we put the link to the article on there. There’s a couple of different ways that it goes on onto Facebook and Instagram. So I’ll go through and see which piece of creative is performing the best. It’s got the most shares.

It’s got the most comments. And then turn that into a page post engagement ad to try to get it more. Likes follows, shares views on the video. And then what we do with those page post engagement ads is I’ll go into our audience and we have an audience that is called blog post viewers past 14 days in which we run retargeting ads to.

So we will, I’ll go in there and update that audience to be anyone that has watched these new videos that I turned into. Page post engagement ads. That is kind of my level of it. And then I’m done there. I’ll go in on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and turn those in. Sometimes we have a giveaway that I’ll turn into a page, post engagement ad, and all of these ads are literally just to make people aware of us, to put our brand out there more in the Facebook, Instagram land.

And then what I’ll do is if I see something intriguing or something performing really, really well. And that’s when I’ll on that in terms of performance, is it like a cost per page, post engagement, number of comments, sales? I mean, I know you’re probably looking at everything, but yeah, just like tactically, what are you looking at?

Yeah. So it’s kind of, I kind of look at all of the, you know, how many impressions did it get if it’s I look at the average above average, below average things a lot.

The ad relevance diagnostics. the ad relevance diagnostics, and, and like the number of impressions it’s getting. I don’t know. I don’t dive in as deep as you guys into the ads manager, but that’s kinda what I look at it, look at those.

And if something’s above average, I look at the post. Or if it’s gotten a ton of impressions, I’ll go back and look at the posts and just see. Maybe one of the comments on it. Sometimes they do really well because it’s terrible. Right? And I don’t want to give that to Boris. Sometimes it says above average because there’s a ton of comments on it, but the comments are not great.

We didn’t hit this one out of the park. So that’s obviously something I wouldn’t want to send to Boris, but if it’s doing really well and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback on it, we can then figure out how to turn that into an ad itself.

15:16 Molly: Awesome. So you are adding new ads to an existing campaign for content distribution, which is amazing. And then anything that really knocks it out the park that you see a lot of positive interaction, then you make a note to Boris, Hey, this headline or. This discussion, this hook, whatever you want to call it, this is really resonating. And then he decides what he wants to do with that. And I know, you know, from talking to Boris the, you know, what you’re sending over really defines most of the cold traffic ads. That you know, he’s going to run. So it’s a really cool system because Laura is just constantly pumping Boris, not only new ad creative, but also new hooks and new concepts and new points of discussion that are really helping scale the cold traffic side of things.

Laura: Yeah. For example, though, I remember one time we did a post on makeup with glasses and why we had never thought to do a post on makeup with glasses to an older, over 50 mark. We had never thought to do it. So I don’t remember why it came up, but on one of our ideation calls, we decided to do this. Blog posts about wearing makeup with glasses and it did absolutely amazing.

So that is something that we then turned into a pre-sell created ads for, and Boris ran ads to that presale campaign.

16:41 John: Pretty incredible, great example. Just while we’re talking about Facebook, this, I was reminded of something you told me, Laura which really just shows the impact in a totally different way. So I think it was something in 2020, like 406 million impressions that boom got from their content that they shared.

So we did like a quick calculation. What does this translate to in terms of Facebook exposure? And so this isn’t the paid stuff that we just talked about. This, this is just impressions. And if you assume. Roughly a $10 CPM. Right? So to show a post, something from boom to people on Facebook cost about $10 to show it to a thousand people.

It’s like the organic content you got here was worth $4.1 million in additional Facebook ad spend. So doing this, not only did you make revenue, like we already talked a little bit, but it’s like you bought almost $4 million worth of Facebook ads for free. Yeah. Huge. And is one of the reasons that this works right?

Is the idea that it is just another way to show people great stuff. You’re just focusing less on. How does this become dollars tomorrow and said, how do I make this a long play for the business? Exactly.

17:51 John: Well, talk about one more part, and then maybe you can kind of walk us through how you go about doing ICOSA, but something I think is really cool and important for people to wrap their minds around is this optimization phase, because if you’ve ever created a blog post or a video or made content and you share it one time, And look at the analytics.

You’re just like, oh man, only a thousand people read this kind of a bummer because I put so much work into it. But I think that’s a big mistake people make is they don’t think about how much energy they put into creating this and do it justice in terms of sharing it around and setting it up to be able to be shared on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and all over.

So how do you guys leverage the optimization process to make sure that this great content you make gets the exposure it deserves? Right off the bat, we have kind of a list of things that happen to any specific type of blog post. If it’s a video, for example, if it is a, let’s say it’s a five minute video, it’s one of our shorter videos.

One of the girls on our team will watch the whole thing. Cut as many clips as she can have full thoughts. Maybe that’s two clips, maybe that’s three clips out of this five minute video, then we’ll go ahead and cut it down even farther so we can share it to Instagram stories. Maybe we turn it into IETV.

As many ways as our customers and our fans and our followers are willing to consume this content. We will use it for as much as we can possibly get out of it. Like I said, we have the pull quotes. We will turn an article into a completely new article. If we see a question on the blog that is deserving of its own piece of content.

So really I like to call it juicing your content. You’re squeezing that one article or that one video. To get as much out of it as you possibly can, because some people like to read, some people like to watch some people like to read long form. Some people like bulleted lists just to get the value quickly.

Some people like to watch long, some people will like to watch short. It’s going to depend on the person is going to depend on their mood in the moment. I know my. Consumption changes based on how I feel, how much time I have, if I’m just scrolling on Instagram versus if I’m actually looking for an answer to something.

So the more ways you have your content out there, the broader of an audience you’re going to be able to reach. So when we’re optimizing, we really keep that in our minds that we want this piece of content to be seen in as many possible ways as it can.

20:18 Molly: You know what I love about this, Laura, I’ve been realizing more and more, especially the last year that when it comes to business or marketing in general and what we do, of course, what matters most is how well, you know, the customer and when.

I see students struggling with paid ads or social media or email marketing. It usually always goes back to a lack of understanding of what this person’s thinking what’s going on in their day to day life, what their challenges are, what their fears are, what they’re looking to achieve. And through this interview, and really digesting this further.

I really can’t think of anything more important for someone’s business right now, as copy and creative and hooks become even more important on these platforms. When it comes to a paid ad standpoint, it’s like your life, little research lab over there. That’s further getting to know and understand this avatar.

And it’s really what most businesses are missing. They’re worried about. CBO versus ABO or iOS 14, or, you know, something tactical, which, you know, are still important. But this part right here, like truly understanding this person deep down in their heart and their mind and what they’re experiencing, you guys can literally enter the conversation in their mind at any point.

And it’s. Like you’re getting smarter, right? Like every, every piece of content you put out, you learn something new about this person that adds to your all’s marketing arsenal, you know, adds to your assets. And I just want to point out like how incredibly important that is. And I think that’s truly the biggest benefit to what you’re doing.

Like the revenue generations, grade reaching more people of course is great. But I think this part of it is what most people are missing. Yeah. I think the social team is its own little AI over here. The more, the more we learn, the more we learn, you know what I mean? Like it’s great.

22:26 John: Perfect. Everybody’s so hot on machine learning, but nobody’s building this way more effective human machine in their business. So one thing I want to tell all the business owners listening to this episode, as you dive into what this framework actually is, social can be a huge driver for your business, right?

For boom. It was 22%, right? Let’s be precise of the 2020 revenue because you focus Laura on the conversation on creating great content of building relationship. If you build your social program around creating the best content you can. That is how you drive business results. Not by trying to say, what is the short term?

Revenue grab that we can make with this. And I think that’s the reason people see social and say, oh, it doesn’t work for me is because they treat it with a direct response mentality, but that’s something you do so well is remember that this is about the conversation and making sure that it’s fun and engaging and speaks to the people that should be buying.

Boom, because it’s the perfect product. Yeah. And I think this is the ICOSA framework and generally. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right? It’s not, we’re not going to have one piece of content. That’s going to crush it and do amazing sometimes maybe, but chances are, it’s going to take us a while of really honing in on what our audience resonates with to have that one piece of content that crushes it.

23:36 John: we’ve set the stage pretty well. I think Laura and kind of last thing I think would be really fun is to just have you talk about how to tactically do this.

Right. People know what I coast is now. Hopefully they are hooked in and want to learn more, but how do you go about day to day? Can you just walk us through for some content, pillar of booms, a normal process from ideation all the way to amplification?

Laura: Yeah. So I’m going to take one of our very first. Content pillars, and we have a few content pillars. But we have people resonate with different things, right? So we have sustainability, we have our women of the parade revolution. We have our ambassador, and our very first pillar that we kind of put together in a big way was our women of the pro age revolution.

So we had this idea that we wanted to bring voices into boom, that weren’t just one person. We wanted to bring in some diversity, some differences of opinions, different answers to questions that might resonate with different women. Right. So the idea was that we had questions like.

What would you tell your 24 year old self? What does beauty mean to you now versus when you were 2030? So we put together this whole photo shoot brought models into New York city. Let them try out our products, ask them all these questions and we had got so much women of the poetry revolution, content.

It’s amazing. We’re still using it now. And that program or that content pillar, we started in 2017. So we still have a ton of content from it and that will, we will continue cycling through. We use them in ads. We use them for our landing pages. We still use a lot of this content. So that was the creation.

Right. We brought people into New York city. We created it. Optimization which we’re still doing. It’s really kind of a never-ending process. We optimize all the time. Occasionally we’ll look back at a video that did really well. We’ll look through our stats on Facebook and optimize, maybe take a new quote from them from that piece of content that did well and syndicating it again.

So syndicating, as far as day to day goes, we have a social media calendar. That our social team puts together in which we either put new stuff out. We know what product launches or sales are coming up. We know what pre-sells we want to put out there. So we have this kind of calendar of how we want to be talking to our customers and our fans within a given amount of time.

So we’ll syndicate accordingly to that. We do also like to have on Facebook kind of the same vibe. So no matter where you find us on social media, you’re kind of going to be seeing the same things in different ways. For example, if we’re featuring Katia, which is one of our ambassadors, you’re going to see her on Facebook.

You’re going to see our Instagram. We’re going to see her on Instagram stories. You’re probably going to see her on the blog as well. So it’s really kind of a whole ecosystem of syndication there. And then so amplification, as I said, I go Monday, Wednesday, Friday, go in, check them out and re up those audiences re up the creatives within that ad set.

Yeah. So that’s like the day to day high level of the ecosystem. Nice. That’s awesome. And I mean, I know that idea was sort of the foundation for the ambassador program. So this project drove one of the most high value things that you guys run in the social team now. And so the idea that you kind of re I Cosa right, started back over at the beginning, you built from that to the next stage.

And then I can’t wait to see what the ambassador program evolves into in a few years. Oh, yeah, that one. I mean, even in just the year that we’ve had it going, has evolved at an amazing pace and really we’ve been able to connect with some amazing people. The ambassador kind of spawned off a ladies night.

So we’ve realized, you know, at the beginning of this pandemic that people were longing for connection. So we were able to reach out to our ambassadors, ask them to hop on a live with us. And so that piece of content created other pieces of content, which is really, if you’re doing this psychosis system, the way it’s intended, it’s going to just continually pump out new ideas, new pieces of content to.

Bring value to your followers. Awesome. Well, we keep talking about the idea of AI and machine learning, and I think it’s. Exactly like that, right? It is the more connections you have, the smarter the brain gets. And that is kind of the role y’all play is you are the connection point between customers and the business.

And every time you find a new way to connect, you just make that relationship a little bit stronger and you make your marketing. A little bit smarter. Yeah. You, you were the human side of things that is so, so important. Laura, this has been amazing. We hope you guys have enjoyed listening.

28:18 Molly: And we just put the finishing touches on a brand new free resource for all of you smart marketer podcast listeners out there. This free resource goes deep into the framework. How you can use it in your business. The day-to-day schedule of a successful social media manager, and much more valuable content all for free and you can grab it yourself@smartmarketer.com forward slash I KoSA. That is smartmarketer.com/ICOSA enjoy. And we’ll talk to you soon.

29:05 Molly: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the smart marketer podcast. For any resources mentioned on the show today, please visit our show notes@smartmarketer.com forward slash podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us an honest review on whichever platform you are listening. Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time.

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