Tal Navarro's most unusual story, teaching others how to create an impact through social media
YairaJasmin – Epoc Times, February 4th, 2013
The princess of social media – photo by YairaJasmin/ Epoc times (red tunique: Alembika)
"When it comes to social media – you have to understand what people want, and give it to them", says Navarro, 31, social networks marketing expert who had reached thousands of followers on various platforms. "You have to be valuable, exciting, ask a question that would end up in actions. The most important resource on social media is not the money, it's the attention. Money and value are important but secondary"
Three years ago Navarro was not that well known. Today, when she publishes a post or a photo on Facebook, she gets hundreds of likes. Her all times record is 5,400 likes for a post.
On her 31st birthday, the princess of social media chose to spend the day at the Shneider hospital, handing out sweets and running some fun activities for children with cancer. Her mother died of cancer three years ago, and on the following day she went up north and attended her mother's memorial. We met for this interview on that very evening, and her eyes were still swollen with tears. I came to this interview trying to understand her secret for success, but didn't get any easy answers. Instead, I got many colorful stories Tal shared.
Navarro was born in New York, and when she was one year old her parents moved back to Israel and settled in the Kerayot. Her father found a job in Israel's Electric Cooperation and her mother worked for El Al. After finishing her military service, where she served as a Computers and Communications officer, Navarro moved back to New York and rented a flat in Manhattan. She made a living out of painting and selling her artworks to various galleries.
She then left for a long trip in Indiaon her own, and came back to New York for a very short time. Navarro decided to settle down in a magical Caribbean island, surrounded by coral reefs. She moved with her husband, a French photographer she met online, and together they established their online marketing company and sold kite surfing equipment. The story continues as the couple moves to Florida.
The connection with the family in Israel was kept mainly over the internet. At the beginning they used instant messaging systems and later on over 'myspace'. It was then that Navarro started to realize Social Media had a huge potential, and began using it as a marketing tool.
Her mother's sudden illness brought her back to Israel, leading to her divorce. After her mother past away, Navarro moved to Tel Aviv, and swore she would be forever happy. In one of her posts she writes: "On that damned rainy day at the cemetery I promised myself that I would spend the rest of my life fulfilling myself, giving myself and others happy things tocover the holes in my soul that followed my mother's passing"
Navarro founded the Social Media department at the Adler Chomsky advertising agency, but after a year she missed being 'independent'. She quit her job and founded the Marketing and Social Media College. In that college, Navarro taught hundreds of people from various fields, including Channel 2 News, Netvision, Israel's Electric Cooperation and AllJobs. The college was recently sold, yet Navarro remains independent.
Secret of success on Facebook
I ask Navarro to tell me some of the things she teaches her clients.
"A person who starts working on these platforms must remember it's not only about opening a Facebook page. You have to know how to manage it, build the right strategy, understand the audience, use a certain language and create suitable contents"
"You have to remember social media is different than traditional media. In traditional media, the advertisers can publish anything they want and the audience can never give a feedback. In social media, a company has to tell the brand's story, widely present their services, and make sure that the story moves forward to other people. It's a dialog, not a monolog. It's not one-sided, as many people share contents with others around them. One has to manage differently, think differently, and those who understand it are the only ones who could do it well.
Let's say I am a photographer and I want to sell my photos. What would you suggest I do?
First and foremost, we would have to understand your target audience. Do you photograph pregnant mothers, weddings or ceremonies? Each of the above has a different target audience, and you have to choose your words accordingly. Take Noterilion for example. They sell infant formulas, and they focus on speaking to the mothers. Their language is directed mainly to women and mothers, creating a friendly environment where mothers and mothers-to-be can ask and answer questions honestly and comfortably. This would obviously be different if you reach Porsche's Facebook page, that carries out different style and interaction that is mainly addressed to men.
Once you understand the crowd, you have to understand the right contents to post on Facebook. Facebook's algorithm is based on interaction, that is to say: as interaction on your page increases, your page will appear higher on Facebook's search engine and more often on newsfeeds (The page you see when you log on Facebook). There's a huge difference between personal profiles and a business pages. It's much easier to promote a personal profile, because you can easily interact with other users and see their activity up on your newsfeed. When it comes to business pages, promotion is not as easy.
But after recent changes done on Facebook, even this is not enough. Navarro points out another crucial element: funded ads, i.e. paying Facebook to widely present posts and advertisements. Since its public offering, Facebook is committed to its shareholders, and posts' exposure is largely decreasing. When you post something on a Facebook page today, it would show up only on 16%-20% of the feeds.
"Without funding ads, the audience would not see what you posted, and you will lose your audience fast. Combining funded ads with valuable and suitable contents would guarantee a large exposure. If you share valuable, audience-targeted contents, the people would visit, interact and respond on your page more often, and you would reach your goals.
What if I am a real estate law firm?
Real estate law firms should offer solutions to problems presented by the audience. Many people know nothing about real estate and have thousands of questions. Therefore, I would suggest initiating a daily conversation about various real estate related issues, or telling stories about the target audience. In addition, a YouTube channel can show tips and important focal points. On a single shooting day, you can create dozens of videos, including tips, references etc. You can then post the videos and synchronize your Facebook page with your YouTube channel.
Navarro explains it has taken her many years to reach her present exposure. However, she refuses to rest on her laurels, and makes sure the exposure doesn't decrease. She therefore comments on other people's posts and creates active relationships. "Mutuality is important to every brand and person who wants to be exposed, so don't only expect others to comment on your posts. If I want to get a feedback, I need to give it to others"
Model under the water
The social media princess has a very busy agenda. She wakes up at 7 AM and goes jogging in the park. Occasionally, when she has the time, she goes kite surfing. She then has meetings with clients, workshops and lectures. She goes to sleep at 2 AM, after an hour dedicated to her own social media activity. She still manages to have some free time for painting, video editing and reading. She has no television in her house.
Navarro has a strong passion for diving. On her 30th birthday she gave herself a present – taking photos underwater. She organized clothes, photographers, makeup artist, concept and her own video production team. The underwater photo album, along with her insights and thoughts, bring many 'likes' to her facebook page. An underwater video she took can also be seen on her YouTube channel.
"The sea symbolizes freedom, unlimited options, and nature in all its glory. This is the cleanest most genuine and deep it could possibly get. When I dive I go into a whole new world, and I let this eternal space surround me with its silence. I connect with the colors and magical sights, and it allows a small break from my day to day life.
Her photo recently won first prize at the HP Red Sea underwater shooting contest. This contest attracts many photographers around the world, who compete in various categories – fish photography, underwater video shoots etc. What Navarro was most passionate about was underwater fashion photography, and she decided to participate as a model. "I posted on Facebook that I am looking for designers who are willing to give me some designs, and I promised to give them the credit if I win. I got some clothes, packed them nicely and went to Eilat without a photographer. In Eilat there were many photographers, but each had a model with whom they were preparing for months. On the first day I had nothing to do. On the second day I met a fish photographer from Germany, and although he had no experience in fashion photography, he agreed to be my photographer. Only after I came back to Tel Aviv I realized I won first prize!
People claim Social Media disconnects people from their real lives. How do you deal with that?
I've found the right balance between the virtual world and my real life. I live my real life much more than my virtual life, although it doesn't always look like it. In the end, you have to manage your time and energy and never give up on what you are passionate for offline. I was out without a phone or computer several times this year – went diving in the Maldives and spent four days camping in a music festival in Belgium.
How do you see the future of social media?
The market becomes more and more mobile, and I believe this trend will keep on going in the near future. Generally speaking, in 20 years, those who miss the romantic pen and paper we held before the digital revolution would find themselves missing Facebook and text messages, as new technologies and platforms take over".