Forget Likes, Get sales From Your Followers!
Social media marketing is all the rage but what good is it if you aren’t converting these followers and likers to buyers?
I speak with Sheena White who is a social media marketing pro for small businesses and we delve into ways to manage a social media marketing campaign without using all your time and with the goal of adding to your sales and profits and not just feeding your ego!
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Listen right here:
Matt: It is my pleasure today to welcome to Entrepreneur Talk, Sheena White on sheenawhite.com. She is a social media and marketing expert who is going to share with us all her tips and techniques for being a small business owner and navigating that social marketing world. Sheena, kinda just start off. Let us know what’s your background and how you kinda got to where you at today. That would be a great place to start.
Sheena: Sure! Thank you for having me on the show. My background originally was in copyrighting. I started out my career about 10 years ago as a copyrighter. I was working for Print originally. I never really aspired to do my own thing and to have my own business but I ended up getting married a few years ago and my husband is in the navy. So, if you’re familiar at all with that lifestyle, it means a lot of moving which means a lot of sacrifice for the spouse if you want to have your own career. It’s really hard to build your own career while moving every 3 years. So, I know I was gonna be moving to California from [inaudible 0:05:56.7] and I realized it was time to go ahead and do my own thing. I had, about 4 years ago, branched out from doing just copyrighting to start doing more and more in the social media world because I just saw that’s where the market is going. People didn’t understand what to do with it. They don’t understand how to use it. And really, a lot of social media, it’s just communicating in a different format. So, I have authority and background in copyrighting where I was doing – it was all about content and communicating with your market. So, it’s just an entirely different format that went far more visual but it was exciting and new and creative and really fun. I really dug into it. So, for me, organically, I got really into Facebook. But then a few years ago – I would say about a year and a half or 2 years ago – I got really into Twitter and started digging into how I could use Twitter to really drive traffic. So, I would say those 2 are my favorites. However, PeriScope is new and pretty and shiny. I think blab is also big. I think in 2015 – 2015 without a doubt is gonna be the year of the video because of this opportunity that people can kinda get to know you on a more personal level. They see your face. They can ask you questions in the real time. So, it really takes social media to a whole level and it’s much more transparent and it really intensifies and deepen those relationships through social media. So, it’s pretty cool.
Matt: So, you were doing it in a corporate position and decide to kinda go out on your own, finding clients and helping them with various aspects. So, if I’m a small business and I kinda have no idea where to start, how do you even put together or strategize what particular things I should be doing online and I’ve only got a limited amount time. I also got a limited budget. How do I even start to kind of figure out where to tackle that challenge of online and social media marketing?
Sheena: The first thing that you should be doing is – if you’re doing nothing – the first thing that you should be doing is listening. Social listening is really a key because without a doubt there are conversations going on online every single day about businesses and their product. It’s really important. I think salesforce.com has, for example, 14 members who do nothing but sit online every day and listen to what is happening online. Even if they don’t need to do any further, even if your business doesn’t do anything further beyond that, as long as you’re engaged with your audience and talking to them that is so huge. It’s such a huge opportunity to develop relationships and provide customer service and really separate yourself from everyone who is doing nothing but just posting in Facebook. So, the first that I would tell every business is make sure that you’re listening to what’s being said about you online and that you are responding to people whether it be complaints, whether it be this product is amazing. Make sure you’re there and listening. The second thing I would say is you have to think about what your product is. Do you have a product that’s highly visual? Is it a service? Who is your target market? If you’re selling products that are highly visual and your target market is women, well Pinterest is a great place to be because it’s kind of its own search engine and they are highly geared targeted toward the women. We are the primarily users of Pinterest and we actually would go on to Pinterest and shop and get ideas. So, it’s just kind of “where you should be?” is going to depend on who your audience is, what your goals are. Are you trying to drive traffic? Are you trying to make sales? What are you trying to do? Are you just trying to draw up more interest in your business and introduce yourself to more people? It’s kind of a varium where you should be but I do tell people “Don’t pick more than 2 or 3.” Because you can’t be everywhere. You’ll drive yourself crazy and at the end, you’re not gonna do a good job of monitoring who is engaging with you there. You’re not gonna do a good job or producing good content there. You’re gonna be a little hit and miss. You’re better off sticking with one or two or even three and doing them really well as oppose on trying to be on Tumblr and PeriScope, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Blab. The list goes on and on. So, you can make yourself crazy or you can just limit it to the places that are most appropriate for your audience and your business.
Matt: Can I reasonably expect that I’m gonna be able to drive traffic and sales out of that effort? Or the best I can hope for is some likes and Twitter followers and so on that aren’t necessarily gonna convert to anything realistic?
Sheena: No. you absolutely can’t sell online. But you have to start by building relationships with people and the worst thing you can do is just have a Facebook page or a Twitter account and do nothing but post promotional post all the time. That’s not developing relationships. The best thing you can do is post a mix of different types of content. If you’re posting where you’re giving a shout out to someone else or if one your client or customers posted something online with one of your products, sharing that. Or maybe someone who has a customer had a win in their business, congratulating them with that. That’s sort of sharing the love, if you will a little bit. Doing people shout outs and then maybe promoting your blog content, some informational pieces and some engaging pieces. Something that has nothing to do with selling. Then, maybe for that fourth or fifth post, maybe that’s where you throw in a little sales piece like you push them to a product. I think Twitter is really great for driving traffic. I’m a big fan of that platform. Facebook is a little trickier and I think with Facebook, it has [inaudible 0:13:20.3] model. Unfortunately, you are most likely to be suppressed or they are going to have you send money on advertising. With that platform, and really with all of them, I encourage you to combine the social media with list building. Give away something for free. Give something that’s enticing and will help move people over to your e-mail list and make it easier to build that, to further develop that relationship and eventually make more sales through your e-mail list. But whatever strategy you’re gonna have, it’s gonna vary a little depending on what your business is. [Inaudible 0:14:02.9] probably is not as focused on building their e-mail list. That’s definitely a huge part of their business but they’re also putting products on their pages and showing cool and creative ways of using their products whereas someone who is a market or a business coach, for example. They would have an entirely different strategy. If it turns out you have products that they can put up in their website, they’re gonna be more focused on building your list.
Matt: So, again, as you’ve said, it varies for everybody but one sort of track would be to build awareness through this different channels. Have a giveaway that leads to an e-mail list. Then, the e-mail list leads to eventually soft pitches, hopefully for whatever your product or service you’re selling and eventually conversions down the line. But it’s a whole process. You’ve got to invest a fair amount of time and effort into it. With that still hold, primarily, written content and there’s tools to help with some of that buffer and different things that help with automating some of that, but then you mentioned that video, you think, is going to be big. I don’t see any way around doing that but again, investing a fair amount of time and effort standing in front of a video camera and creating more content. Is there a strategy for that or a way to make that go a little faster or get the most banks for your bucket list?
Sheena: First of all, the great thing about video now – in the past I think it required a nice camera and equipment and a green screen and everything that’s involved in producing video – but today, the great thing is you can develop relationships through PeriScope or MeerCat through your cellphone. You don’t necessarily have to have the big fancy stuff to be successful there. Blab, is through your computers. I don’t know how familiar you are with Blab but I think there is a trend right now where a lot of people are using Blab more and more because it is through your computer. It’s simple. You’ll just sit at your computer and chat with people. You can have interviews there – 4 people up on the screen at one time chatting about whatever topic you want. People can jump in to the hot seat if they want. There’s a lot of opportunities to really develop relationships that way but the great thing is it does require time but time is gonna really your main investment there because if you sit down and plan out a calendar about “Alright. What topics do my audience interested in? What can I talk about? I’m gonna get on Blab, 3 or 5 days a week or however often. I’m gonna try to get on PeriScope for a little while every day and talk to my audience.” Some days, you could come up with different topics that are relevant to your business or you could say “Hey! Today, I just want to do a SAQ and ask any of your most occurring questions.” But I think what you’ll find as you’re doing this, people are gonna ask more and more questions and you can do an entire another blab on those questions that they are asking. You can take their questions and turn them into blog post. You can really re-purpose that content again and again because you are engaging directly with your audience. You’re figuring out what they don’t know, what they know, finding out what they like more as far as products. You can pick their brain about what they are interested in. I really think that it’s going to take social media to a whole new level but it’s gonna improve it, I think, in a lot of ways because we’re gonna figure out. We’re gonna be more directly connected to our audience and really figure out what they are interested in.
Matt: Interesting. For the record, yeah, this is the first I’ve heard of Blab. I feel like I’ve reasonable up to date but there’s always stuff out there that’s new to me which makes me kind of think the question. For example, our clients are primarily small business owners. Most of them are running around putting out fires all day. So, I could set up a Blab or a webinar or a video chat or a PeriScope session or whatever but, are those people gonna be online and making time for that as well? Or is there a lot of millenialls, or younger people or people in offices who have more time to do this kind of thing? Am I gonna be able to reach all the demographics? How do I even figure that out?
Sheena: Well, I think a lot of people are on Blab. I’ve seen a lot of people of PeriScope. I think between MeerCat and PeriScope, PeriScope is probably gonna win the battle. Apple TV just added PeriScope to its list of apps that you need. So, I really think PeriScope is here to stay. I think people really love Blab. I think there’s gonna be an entirely new audience that you can reach there maybe who aren’t on Facebook or aren’t seeing your content on Facebook. I have a client. She actually loves Blab. She said every time she gets on Blab – [inaudible 0:19:34.2] and a developer, helps people with WordPress – She said every time she is on and is talking to people, people go back to her website to check her out more. She can actually trace revenue from “Every time I get to a blog, I get 5 new people on my e-mail list. Two new people doing inquiry and I make one or two sales for website audiences.” Because she’s on Blab and talking to people and answering their questions and sharing the value in her service, and sharing her level of knowledge and expertise, almost every time she said the more she gets on Blab, the more money she makes. You can see direct revenue tied to those sessions.
Matt: Wow! That’s pretty cool. So, I got an idea for a giveaway for you. If you wrote a guide on making money on using Blab as a small business owner, I would sign up for that. I think you just figured out a new product for you. That’s interesting. I have to kinda see how we can incorporate that. But in terms of tools, a lot of it I can say comes down to, there’s just not enough time in a day to tackle all this stuff. Are there tools or services that you recommend and make dealing with some of this stuff easier? What are some of those?
Sheena: Okay. I have several that I love. Social Quant, without a doubt, helps me grow my Twitter Following. I used to use another tool that was semi-manual and it choked forever. I just didn’t have the time for it. Social Quant for growing your Twitter Following. I use SocialIM to automate my tweet. I could do some live tweeting and I have my tweets that automatically go from my personal Facebook page to add a more real time element and a more personal element. I post personal stuff there and I want some of that stuff to be shared with my twitter audience. But I also set-up queues with Evergreen content in Twitter that run non-stop. They recycle themselves. I’m not getting a new tweet every day or buffer every day to set up new content. It’s just runs forever. I just upload my content. Those are the 2 for twitter. I use PostPlanner for getting ideas for content for clients, for content for myself. I use PostMeeter for scheduling some for my clients because the one thing I can do is I can say “I can set up in advance or I want to post that 8 o’clock in the morning. I want that post that noon and I want to post that at 6 pm. I want to post that 9 pm on the day X, Y, Z. I can step those up in advance. I can set up a specific plan in advance and just say add this content to the plan.” It saves me a lot of time. Then, I also use Mention. I’m a big fan of Mention. I like to use it for engaging. If you want a free option, I think [inaudible 0:23:11.8] works really well. It helps you. You can actually put string out of a list – your twitter list. Today, if you create a Twitter List of influencers in your niche, you can pull those into [inaudible 0:23:25.5] and really engage more easily with people there. But, I really love Mention. It is a paid tool – it is a paid tool after a certain number of mentions. If you have small audience that may work for you for free, but I really love that tool for moderating who is engaging with me and talk with people online. I would say those are my best. I use thing like Google Apps like Spreadsheets and Google Docs. Those types of tool really help me a lot for organization.
Matt: Yeah. There’s lots of tools out there. It’s just the matter of figuring out which ones would work fast for you and deliver the best results. There’s quite a few you mentioned that I haven’t had a chance to try out yet but I think I have heard good thing about Social Quant including from you. So, I think that’s next on my list to sign up and see how that goes for me. But, what’s next for you in terms of your business? Where do you kinda see you growing? What are your plans for the future?
Sheena: Well, I think 2015 has been a really big year for me. I’m gonna be doing a lot more scaling and probably hiring a few more people to help me and specialist more because I want to have a team of people working on blogging and have a team of people working on ads. So, I see a lot of growth happening for me in 2016. It’s gonna be a very exciting year. I’m really excited about the New Year. I know you can change the direction of your business everyday but there’s something to be set for a new year and a fresh beginning.
Matt: Yeah. Definitely. Like you said, you can set goals at any point or whatever. But, there is something nice about having that calendar roll over and say “Okay. This is the year I’m gonna focus on this. This is the year I’m gonna throw out this.” So, that’s great. You’ve got quite a few different things that you’re offering already, right? You still do copyrighting? You do Social Media Management. You do some ad management. Is there anything else that you help small business owners with in terms of getting the word out there?
Sheena: I do a lot of consulting with people and help them to come up with a strategy for their business. I do a lot of that. I dabble on a little bit of everything. so, if someone needs help setting up the actual pieces of their sales funnel, they know that they’ve got the sales funnel, they know exactly what they want to do, but they need to help with [inaudible 0:26:12.8] or their landing pages or come creating that free offer that lead magnets that they want to use to build their email list. I basically can help with any part of that process. So, from the Social Media end to those e-mails and so on.
Matt: Okay. One of the questions that I always like to ask and we’re coming short of time, but in terms of your experience, is there anything you would’ve done differently or advise you would give to entrepreneurs coming up that you wish you’ve gotten when you were starting?
Sheena: This is a hard question. I think that the advice I would say is “Fail fast. Don’t hold on to something.” I had a product for a long time – for a year or so – and I just refused to let it go for a really long time and refused to admit the seed on it. You really have to recognize when something just isn’t working and be okay with letting it go because there’s gonna be failures. There’s gonna be things that just don’t work. It happens with every business. And really, I think the faster you go, the more you’re trying, the more often it’s gonna happen because everything’s isn’t gonna work but the faster you’re willing to let go of those things and not get too tied to one specific course of action and the more willing you are to sort of let things happen and go where the market and go where your own interest take you, I think the more successful you’ll be. Just try not to get completely attached to a specific product or specific service that you’re offering because what you think is good may not actually resonates with the audience.
Matt: Definitely. There’s an accounting concept that is called Sunk Cost and it’s also known as good money after bad where you just kinda hang on to something because you think “I put all this effort into it. It’s gotta work!” But you got to let it go and move on. if the market says no, then you just got to take that no and move on.
Matt: Thanks so much for taking the time. For people who are interested in more, where should they go to find you online?
Sheena: you can find me all over the place. But sheenawhite.com is a good place to start. You can also find me on Twitter, @sheenamwhite. But you can always visit me on my website or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m usually pretty fast to respond.
Matt: Awesome! Well, thank you so much for taking the time. I’ll put in the show notes links to all those different sites and tools that you mentioned so people can find them. I really appreciate you taking the time and sharing your expertise with us. It was a great session and I think I’ve got a lot of homework to do from that.
Sheena: Well, I had fun. Thank you for having me!